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SEP 5 1959 





This Volume is the Gift of 

William L. Leeney 

from the collection of 

Capt. Harold Leeney 

Cornell University Library 
UH 655.G7M82 

Army veterinary service in war. 

3 1924 000 361 455 

Date Due 

NOV 15 



*•«•■ ' - 


Cornell University 

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

^To all ranks of the R.A.V.C./ 
and A.V.C. India who 
^faithfully served 
their country 
during the War 
this Book 
is dedi- 

' Moreover it is required in Stewards 

that a man may be found faithful." 

(1 Cor. IV., 2) 

The proceeds of the Sale of this Book, after 
the cost of publication, will be devoted to 
the foundation of a Benevolent Fund for 
the personnel of the Army Veterinary Corps, 




K.C.M.G., C.B., F.R.C.V.S. 



WiTK A Note by 
General Sir Charles Carmichael Monro 

G.C.B.. G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., A.D.C. 

Commander-in-Chief in India 


H. & W. BROWN, 20 FULHAM ROAD, S.W. 3 




I. General .... 

II. Instruction during Peace 

III. Instruction during War 

IV. Instruction in view of men taking their discharge 

V. Instruction in Shoeing, and Schools of Farriery 









Heavy Draught 



Light Draught Horses 




Riding Horses 

























Disposal for Work 



Disposal for Food 



Disposal for By-products 



Accounting and Amounts realised 



Disposal on Demobilisation 


Appendices I, II, and III 

179, 180, 181 



British Armies in France 
Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force 
British Salonika Force 
Egyptian Expeditionary Force' 
Expeditionary Forces in India 




Conditions on the Western Front . . 19 

A Tented Veterinary Hospital . • 22 

Veterinary Hospital — A converted Brick-shed . 26 

A Reception Hospital . ■ .30 

On the Western Front . . .53 

" Packing " Shells to the Front . . 60 

Winter in France . . . .65 

Within range — " Packing " Shells . . 68 

Mange. A Dipping Bath . . .77 

Before and after Treatment . . .80 

Pack Transport Mule : Waziristan . . 135 

Field Veterinary Hospital (Camels) at Kotkai . 138 

Bullock Transport : Waziristan . .147 

Condition of Camels under Stall Feeding . 147 

Camel under load of 480 lb. . . .151 

Camels on a river road, Waziristan . .154 

Field Hospital (Camels), Dera Ismail Khan . 158 



I have been asked, by reason of my having held the appoint- 
ment of Director of Veterinary Services of the British Expedi- 
tionary Force, France, during the late War, if I would contribute 
a series of articles to the Journal of the United Service Institu- 
tion India on the subject of Veterinary work in War. I am 
very pleased to accede to the request, for two reasons. Firstly, 
from an instructional point of view, I feel that, in mj- present 
capacity as Director Veterinary Services of the Army in India, 
it is part of my duty to supply any information which will tend 
to the advancement and efficiency of the Army in India, and 
secondly, I desire in every possible way, by precept and by 
shewing example, to solicit the support of one and all in placing 
the Army Veterinary Service in India on the same sound basis now enjoys at Home, both for Peace and War. 

Veterinary Service in India, as it stands at present, is in no 
wd,y adapted for its success in a War of any big undertaking. 

It is a curious mixture of elements seeking the light of day 
ajad inviting the process of welding into one common interest 
and organisation. 

Prior to the late War, the personnel of the Army Veterinary 
Service consisted of 63 of&cers. Army Veterinary Corps, detailed 
for a tour of five years by the War Office, and 23 Non-Com- 
missioned Officers of the Unattached List borne on the strength 
of what was termed the Indian Subordinate Veterinary Corps. 
These officers were primarily and essentially for the care and 
treatment of animals of British units. Treatment was carried 
out in Station Veterinary Hospitals,, the personnel for attend- 
ance, 'dressing, grooming, etc., being detailed from units. In 
Silladar units and Transport, Veterinary attendance was run on 
regimental lines, Sowars of Silladar Cavalry being sent to the 
Punjab Veterinary College, Lahore, to graduate after a three 
years course as Salutries or Veterinary Assistants ; those for 
Transport being eng^aged locally and departmentally from men 


who were College graduates. Only for periodical inspections 
and on the occasion of outbreaks or apprehended outbreaks of 
contagious disease were Officers, A.V.C. called in to Silladar 
Units and Transport. In a few words, the pre-war system was 
a purely scratch arrangement of borrowing personnel from 
units for departmental purposes, totally excluding from skilled 
veterinary care and treatment the great majority of Indian 
Cavalry, and the whole of the Transport. In war, the whole 
of the animals comprising a Field Force came under the Army 
Veterinary Service, and treatment for the most part was 
centred in Field Veterinary Hospitals specially njobilized. 
The personnel for these again was obtained under temporary 
arrangements. It will be seen that a different system was 
followed in war to what existed in peace, and it will be agreed 
that such a state of affairs does not commend itself to efficiency, 
and particularly with a personnel for the inost part untrained. 
In 1918 an improvement was made. The Government of 
India sanctioned the transfer of the Veterinary Assistants of 
Indian Cavalry and Transport to the Veterinary Service, and 
they were incorporated into the Indian Veterinary Corps. The 
Cadre strength in Officers of the Eoyal Army Veterinary Corps 
was increased from 63 to 95, to admit of the more direct super- 
vision and care of animals. The borrowing of the balance of 
the necessary personnel, however, still continues, carrying in its 
train an evil principle of counting men effective in two places 
for two separate purposes. This is absolutely opposed to esprit 
de corps and truly efficient service. 

I have purposely outlined the above Indian system, as I hope 
to show by contrast in the course of this article what good 
organization, tempered in the fire of war, really means, and 
how easy it is for a service well knit, and with its component 
parts and individual items of personnel knowing its functions 
and particular duties so well, to undertake anything that a war 
of any magnitude can produce, where difficulties are but wafer- 
cakes, and responsibilities become a pleasure. At the same 
time I should like to mention that there is now under consider- 
ation a scheme for the formation of a self-contained Army 
Veterinary Corps in India which, if it materializes, will place 
Veterinary Service in that Country on the topmost rung of the 


ladder. It would be impossible to find a more promising field 
or better material wherewith to build an efficient Corps than in 
India, and it goes without saying that with the experience of 
the late war fresh in the minds of those in authority, the 
present moment is most favourable for erecting a sound 

To return now more directly to the subject of the article, I 
propose to divide it into the following headings, and as my 
experience — or at least the most valuable and up to date part, 
chiefly relates to the fom- and a half years' struggle in France 
and Belgium, I shall have to point my remarks with occurrences 
in that theatre of war : — 

Organization and functions of Army Veterinary Service in 

Wastage of animals in War. 

Army Veterinary Service as an Instructional Agency. 

Economy to be effected in the Disposal of animals wasted 
by War. 

The Merits and demerits of the various breeds of animals 
used in War. 


Organization and Function 
of Army Veterinary Service in War. 

Chap. I.— GENEEAL. 

Unquestionably, all administrative services should be separately 
constituted in peace, with their own fixed establishments ; and 
their inflation to meet the purposes of war should not be at the 
expense of fighting units, but should be carried out by their 
own agency. 

The Army Veterinary Service at Home — or the Army 
Veterinary Department as it was then called, learned its lesson 
of organization during the War • in South Africa. Previous to 
that war there was no properly organized field veterinary 
system. The old watertight method of regimental treatment 
existed. In war, ineffectives were sent to the second line 
transport of their units, taken along with such transport until a 
favourable time presented itself for their clearance to the Base. 
The wastage of animals during the South African War was not 
happy reading, and much suffering, disease, and loss would have 
been avoided if an efficient chain of veterinary assistance in the 
field had existed. Strange to say, India, by reason of the 
experience gained in Frontier Campaigns, was ahead of England 
in Veterinary Service in those days, and maintained, as it does 
to-day, Field Veterinary Hospitals or Sections as part of its 
war organisation. Some of these were sent to South Africa, 
performed very useful service, and though the personnel was 
but of a scratch nature, have merited their place as pioneers of 
Veterinary Service in the Field. 


The outcome of the South African War was the creation 
of an Army Veterinary Corps with its own personnel, and with 
a Eecord Office and Depot to carry out transfers, postings^ 
training, etc. Regimental Sick lines in the larger garrisons 
were re-constructed into Veterinary Hospitals and manned by 
Army Veterinary Corps personnel. The personnel was grouped 
into Sections, A.V.C., and these formed the nuclei of Veterinary 
units in the field. Expansion on first mobilisation was by 
means of Cavalry reservists, ear-marked as horse-keeper or 
groom personnel, but subsequently these were obtained by 
recruitment direct. 

The introduction of Mechanical Transport revolutionised the 
old idea of drafting back ineffective animals to the Second line 
Transport, and brought about the necessity for suitable means 
for evacuation, and Mobile Veterinary Sections for this purpose 
were conceived as a veterinary war measure. 

Such progress had Army Veterinary Service at Home made 
in the year before the late war that it was drawn into staff 
exercises, and even a few months before the outbreak of hostil- 
ities a Veterinary Staff exercise, complete with its administrative 
Officers, Veterinary Officers in charge of Field units. Mobile 
Veterinary Sections and Veterinary Hospital arrangements, 
was successfully carried out at Aldershot on a Scheme arranged 
by the General Staff. 

So that, when the crucial moment of War came, Veterinary 
Service in the field had more or less a definite policy on which 
to work, which may be briefly summarised as follows : — 

Administrative Vety. Officers with Gr.H.Q. and I.G.C. 

Administrative Vety. Officers with Field Formations. 

Executive Vety. Officers with Units and Eemount Depots. 

An Officer I/C Eecords at the Base (HI Echelon). 

Mobile Vety. Sections for evacuation of sick. 

Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Communication. 

Base Depots of Veterinary Stores. 
The Veterinary units of the original British Expeditionary 
Force which landed in France during August 1914 comprised : 
6 Veterinary Hospitals, each for 250 patients. 
11 Mobile Veterinary Sections. 
2 Base Depots of Veterinary Stores. 


while the entire strength of the A.V.C. personnel numbered : — 

122 Officers, Administrative and Executive. 

797 Other Banks. 

The total number of horses of the Force was then 53000. 

The subsequent record of Veterinary Service, in common 
with practically all other Branches of the Force, was one of 
rapid expansion and change of organisation consequent on the 
growth of the Army and the general evolution of modern 
warfare. In a little over three years, the above units increased 
ls Veterinary Hospitals. \ ■ Accommodation for 39800 

4 Convalescent Horse Depots. ) sick animals. 
17 Veterinary Evacuating Stations. 

66 Mobile Veterinary Sections. 

5 Depots of Veterinary Stores. 

1 Bacteriological Laboratory. 

7 Horse Carcase Economisers (for By-products). 
In addition. Overseas and Dominion Governments supplied : — 

2 Veterinary Hospitals (each for 1250 patients). 
2 Veterinary "Evacuating Stations. 

11 Mobile Veterinary Sections. 
. while the total personnel amounted to : — 

Officers. Other Banks. 
Imperial Vety. Service ... 651 15000 

Overseas and Dominion 

Vety. Services ... 114 1446 

Total ... 765 16446 

The Canadian, Australian and New Zealand Veterinary- 
Services were modelled exactly on the same lines as the Imperial 
Service, excepting that they could afford to have more officers 
for executive duty. They were complete in every item of 
organisation, even to Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Com- 
munication associated with our own, and there are now in these 
respective Forces, Officers and other ranks who are thoroughly 
conversant with the procedure of Veterinary Service, both 
Administrative and Executive. This is a point to be remembered 
if ever India requires assistance from our Overseas Dominions 
and Colonies, in fact 1 am inclined to think that an association 


so happily constituted should be continued, and be transformed 
into an assimilation or fusion of Service throughout the Empire. 
If India is by any mischance shut off from the West, there is 
an efficient field available on her East. 

To deal more closely with the subject under review, it will be 
convenient to divide it under the following headings : — 



Eegimental Veterinary Assistance. 

Evacuation of sick and wounded. 

Veterinary Hospitals and Convalescent Horse Depots. 

Supply and distribution of veterinary equipment 
and medicines. 

Bacteriological Laboratories. 
At the outset I desire to pay a tribute of grateful acknow- 
ledgement to the constant sympathy and material assistance 
given by those in authority at General Headquarters, and by 
General Officers of Commands and Formations, to a Corps 
which was practically untried in its war organisation. Without 
such help under circumstances which were difficult, and at times 
critical, the individual efforts of the Corps itself would have 
been of little avail to achieve so high a degree of efficiency as 
was, without doubt, attained during the late war. 


The Army Veterinary Service, being one of the Administrative 
Services, has a Director as its Head. He in common with other 
Directors acts under the Q.M.G. of the Force, who is virtually 
a Chairman of a Board of Directors. 

The duties of the Director of Veterinary Services and the 
location of the Headquarters of his Directorate are laid down in 
Field Service Regulations, Part II, Sections 22 and 23. 

At first the majority of the Directors of the British Expedi- 
tionary Force, France, were under the I. G.C., a Deputy Director 
of each Service being at G.H.Q. with the Q.M.G. This was 
subsequently altered to Directors being under Q.M.G. direct. So 
far as the Veterinary Directorate is concerned, the latter dis- 
position and location is the correct one, as the Director having 


to administer his service equally at the Front as on L. of C, he 
can only satisfactorily do it from and through the Headquarters 
of the Force. Moreover, under a system whereby the Director 
is back on L. of C. with the I.G.C., and is represented at Gr.H.Q. 
by a Deputy, the advice of the Director is exposed to over-ruling 
by or through his Deputy, and thereby conflict may ensue. 

With a Director at G.H.Q. the chain of Administrative 
Veterinary Organisation is: — 

Deputy Directors with each Army, Cavalry Corps and L. of C. 

(rank of Colonel) . 

Assistant Directors with each Corps and Cavalry Division. 

(rank of Lieut. -Colonel). 

Deputy Assistant Directors with each Division (rank of Major), 

It has been suggested by the After-war-Eeorganisation 
Committee that the A.D.V.S. of a Cavalry Division and the 
D.A.J^.V.S. of a Division should be styled " Commmander," as 
their duties to a considerable extent are executive. There 
would appear to me to be very little advantage in the change of 
designation. The chief duties of these officers are advisory — 
inspection, supervision, and general direction of Veterinary 
Services in their Formation, and they are therefore more 
concerned in administration than in actual command, though 
the latter is included in the former. 

Whether an Administrative Veterinary Officer, A.D.V.S. or 
D.A.D.V.S., will be required at the Base, or at Base Ports, will 
depend entirely on local circumstances and requirements. It 
may also be necessary, as it was in France and will probably be 
usual in India, to have two Lines of Communication, each 
requiring an Administrative Veterinary Officer of a status in 
accordance with other Services. 

To assist the Director at G.H.Q. an Assistant Director and 
a Deputy Assistant Director are necessary, according to the 
magnitude of the Force. 

For the above administrative appointments, clerical establish- 
ments are required. In various theatres of war these were 
Army Service Corps personnel, and were subject to promotion 
and re-posting within that Corps. This is unsatisfactory to a 
special technical Service like E.A.V.C. and the proper course is 
for that Corps to maintain its own clerks, who are trained to its 
particular requirements. 



To deal with personnel, i.e. maintenance of reinforcements, 
postings, transfers, and records, a Veterinary Section of the 
Office of the D.A.G. Ill Echelon is requisite. A retired Officer, 
A.V.C., or a Warrant Of&cer promoted to Commissioned rank 
is quite suitable for the appointment of Officer in Charge, 
A.V.C. Eecords. There is no need to waste the services of a 
highly technical Veterinary Officer for this duty. 

The posting of officers to Formations and the selection of 
officers for Administrative and Special appointments must in all 
cases rest with the Director. 

The provision of Officers during the late war presented m^ny 
difficulties on account of the rapid expansion of the Army and 
the requirements for so many theatres of operation. Establish- 
ments of Veterinary Officers with Divisions, Cavalry Brigades 
and Veterinary Hospitals were reduced to a bare working num- 
ber of Officers, but the loss in point of numbers was counter- 
balanced by the experience and the knowledge of duty of those 
who remained. Added to this, Veterinary Service had a 
remarkably efficient second string in its Non-Commissioned 
Officers, both with Field Units and in Veterinary Hospitals and 
Convalescent Horse Depots on L. of C. 

In the early part of this Chapter it was mentioned that on 
first mobilisation of the Field Veterinary Units with the 
original Expeditionary Force for France, expansion of A.V.C. 
was made by Cavalry Keservists for horse-keeper or groom 
duties. General Headquarters, kindly, and I think with great 
forethought, permitted the Veterinary Service to retain these 
men. The majority of them transferred to the Army Veteri- 
nary Corps, became Non-commissioned Officers, and together 
with our own well-trained and proved original Corps N.C.O. 
became the backbone of the Veterinary Service throughout the 

To compensate for the reduction of Veterinary Officers in 
formations. Non-commissioned Officers of the A.V.C. with the 
temporary rank of sergeant, were attached to Infantry Brigades, 


Batteries E.F.A. and E.G. A., Auxiliary Horse Transport Com- 
panies, Reserve Parks, Machine Gun Battalions, Sections of 
Divisional Ammunition Columns, and the Headquarters of 
Armies and Corps. These " Sergeants, A,V.C." were carefully 
selected and trained in the use of Vety. equipment and in first 
aid treatment. The appointments were much sought after, and 
were filled by men with a good practical experience of horses. 
They were much appreciated by Commanding Of&cers of Units, 
and Veterinary 0£&cers, between whom they constituted an 
efficient liaison. Their good service rendered was not forgotten 
by Commanding Of&cers, as was evidenced by the considerable 
number of rewards which fell to their lot. 

Before leaving the " Sergeants, A.V.C." I must tell of one, a. 
retired Officer of the Indian Civil Service, who for over two. 
years, through danger and foul weather, served most gallantly 
with a Brigade of Guards in this capacity, and whose proud 
thought to-day is that he served his country as a private soldier. 

The majority of A.V.C. personnel employed during the War, 
with the exception of those with Mobile Veterinary Sections, 
were either over 41 years of age, or were of a category unfitted 
for service in the front line. Eecruits or transfers, as a rule, 
had a working knowledge of horses. Their usefulness, however, 
was not confined to actual attendance on animals. Eecords of 
their Civil occupations were kept, and it was quite easy from 
their number to find skilled and semi-skilled men for any kind 
of work required, even to that of stable construction, boot 
repairing, carpentering, tailoring and other duties appertaining 
to the interior economy of units. Under the Man Power 
Scheme (" Combing out ") 4500 men of A.V.C. in France were 
transferred to fighting units, and were replaced by men of 
lower Qategory. 

No regularly constituted A.V.C. Eeinforcement Depot was 
established in France. Men were sent out in drafts from the 
A.V.C. Depot, Woolwich, and they were held on charge of the 
Veterinary Hospital at the base pending posting. This was. 
more suitable than establishing a separate Depot, as the 
personnel could be used for hospital purposes pending their 
allotment to various Veterinary Units. If held by a General 
Base Depot they would be used for any purpose. 



All animals belonging to units within a Formation must be 
on the Veterinary charge of an Officer of the Veterinary 
Service. A definite allotment of Veterinary OfUcers is made 
to each Formation in accordance with Establishments, and 
they are attached to the principal or largest units. Veterinary 
arrangements for the smaller units are raade from this allotment 
by administrative Veterinary Officers of the formation con- 
cerned. It is most important that every unit should have 
proper Veterinary supervision and care, as it is only by this 
means sickness, inefficiency and diseases of a contagious 
character can be adequately controlled. It was a practice in 
the B.E. Force, France, that Veterinary Officers, in addition to 
their daily routine work, should make a weekly inspection of 
animals in their charge for contagious diseases, i.e.. Glanders, 
Mange, and Epizootic Lymphangitis, and should certify on their 
weekly returns of sick and lame that such had been carried out. 
The bad case of Mange, the " open " case of Glanders, and the 
advanced case of Epizootic Lymphangitis is usually to be found 
in a unit that has not, for some reason or other, been under 
immediate veterinary care. Freedom from disease is in direct 
relation to the degree of care bestowed on animals, and the 
spread of mange or any contagious disease is a certain indi- 
cation of neglect in management and supervisionary care. 

It has been suggested by the After War Eeorganisation 
Committee that Veterinary Officers of formations should be 
po6]ed under their respective administrative Veterinary Officers. 
Owing to shortage, which casualties and expansion of an army 
are apt to produce, recourse to pooling may be forced on one, as 
happened during the late War, but looking at it from the point 
of view of an initial system of organisation, provision must be 
calculated on definite lines of allotment. 

It is, moreover, much more satisfactory to units and to 
Veterinary Officers for the latter to be attached to certain units 


of a formation (i.e. the principal units) and that a continuity of 
service thereby should be maintained. Commanding Officers, 
and Veterinary Officers get used to each other, a spirit of bon 
camaraderie and faithfulness to the unit's interest is engendered,, 
which make* for more efficient service. It often happens that 
a Director is asked by a Commanding Officer for the return of a 
Veterinary Officer to his unit after the latter has become a. 
casualty, and a like request often arises from the Veterinary 
Officer for return to his previous charge. 

The following distribution of Veterinary Officers with Field 
Formations as they are at present constituted is satisfactory, 
and represents the minimum allotment which can be made 
without incurring a breakdown in the necessary amount of 
supervision which all units in a Field Army require : — 

Division Cavalry Division of 3 Cavalry 




3 Infantry Brigades, E.E. 



Units. ...1-1 

Cav. Dv. Troops 


Machine Gun Cos., &c 

Cav. Eegiments 

3 Brigades of E.F.A. 

at one each 


at one each ... 


3 Mobile Vety. Sections 



at one each 


Divisional Train 


O.C. Mobile Vety. Section 



Total ... 

Total ... 







Corps Troops 


Army Troops 


Corps Heavy Artillery 


Army Brigades, E.F.A. 

O.C. Vety. Evac. Station ... 


at one each 


(Allotted as Army Troops). 

Veterinary Officers with Cavalry. 

When Cavalry is operating, single regiments are constantly 
being detached, or if not detached, a Cavalry Brigade may 
work on an extended front, and the - necessity for a Veterinary 
Officer to each regiment has been shown time after time. 


If Cavalry operates as a Corps, say of two or three Cavalry 
Divisions, it is necessary to add to Corps Headquarters an 
Administrative Veterinary Officer and an Executive Veterinary 
Officer for Corps Troops. 

Sergeants, R.A.V.C., and Farriers ol Units. 

Veterinary Officers in charge of units require v^ithin those 
units someone to represent the Veterinary Service, to render 
first aid, to report sickness to them and to carry out their 
instructions with regard to treatment or evacuation. In the 
old or Eegular Army this representation was effected by the 
Farrier Sergeants of units (i.e. Squadrons, Batteries, Field 
Companies E.E., A.S.C. Companies, Infantry Transport 
Sergeants, etc.), who were sent in peace time to Army Veteri- 
nary Schools for instruction ; but in units of the new armies, 
where farriers were not only untrained in veterinary matters, 
but had enough to do in shoeing animals (their first and 
essential duty) representation was vested in Sergeants, A.V.C., 
specially attached under War Establishments in consequence 
of an enforced reduction in Veterinary Officers. The success 
of these N.C.O. has already been alluded to, and it is a war 
measure which has everything to commend it. 

Veterinary Assistants. 

In India Veterinary representation in units of Indian Cavalry, 
Mountain Artillery and Transport is by means of Veterinary 
Assistants of the Indian Veterinary Corps, two Veterinary. 
Assistants being allotted to each Silladar Eegiment and each 
Mule, Bullock and Camel Corps, and one Veterinary Assistant 
to each Indian Mountain Battery. 

Veterinary Aid Post. 

The bulk of Transport in India is utilised on Lines of Com- 
munication, and a feature of veterinary organisation of the 
nature of " Veterinary Aid Posts " has been adopted during 
recent operations at various staging points en route. Each 
Veterinary Aid Post consists of a Veterinary Assistant detailed 
from a transport unit and one or two " Dressers," with a small 
amount of veterinary equipment. 


Veterinary Equipment with Units. 

All units are provided with field veterinary equipment, the 
scale of which is given in their Mobilisation Store Tables. In 
the B.E.P., France, the scale was cut down to a very low 
degree. Eeplenishment was easily effected from Advancep 
Depots of veterinary stores. Wastage of equipment was 
curtailed thereby, and to limit wastage still further, certain 
equipment was allocated to personnel charge instead of unit 
charge. The ultimate allotment was : — 

. in personal charge. 

Officers Wallet 

.. 41b. 

Officers Chest 

,.. 401b. 

Veterinary Wallet . 

,.. 71b. 

Unit Chest 

.. 251b. 

. in personal charge of 

Veterinary N.C.O. 
. on charge units and kept 
by representatives of Veterinary Service in units, 
i.e., Sergeants, A.V.C. or farriers of units. 
In India the principle is practically the same, but the allot- 
ment to imits until recently was on too liberal a scale. The 
supply and distribution of field veterinary equipment will be 
dealt with more fully later on. It is sufficient to say for the 
present thaf the Veterinary Service has given very careful 
thought to appliances necessary for carrying out successful 
treatment in the field. 


For a unit to be efficient in the field, it must get rid of its 
ineffective animals, and have them replaced by fit animals. A 
policy of retention of sick animals with units in the field not 
only impedes the mobility of such units, but it absorbs the 
attention of a proportion of the unit personnel who might other- 
wise be employed in combatant duties. Only minor cases — say 
those that would be fit again within seven days, should remain 
on the fighting strength of units, others should be evacuated to 
Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Communication where 
•conditions are more favourable for treatment and rest. The 


adoption of this polic}- has resulted in unparallelled reduction 
of wastage over that of previous wars, and the hard lot of 
animals under war conditions has been greatly mitigated' by the 
measure. When we think of the haphazard method pursued 
during the War in South Afric a where sick and enfeebled 
animals had to be destroyed because they could not keep up 
with their unit, were abandoned on the roadside, or dumped at 
places until they could be collected, our present field method is 
paradise in contrast. 

The Veterinary units specially organised for the clearance of 
sick and wounded consist of : — - 

Mobile Veterinary Sections (M.V.S.). 
Veterinary evacuating Stations (V.E.S.). 

Mobile Veterinary Sections. 

These small units and their development, supply an interesting 
page of history in the Great War. They took the field as L. of C. 
units with an establishment of one Officer and thirteen other 
ranks, and their allotment was on the basis of one per Division 
and one per Cavalry Brigade. They were located at Eailheads> 
and their movements were directed from Headquarters I.G.C. 

This might be quite satisfactory with an advancing Force^ 
but when our Troops were retreating and Kailheads changed 
several times daily, it was found impossible to administer them 
from L. of C. It was a fortunate chance that in the early 
months of the war some of them were not captured by the 
enemy. It was soon realised that the only practical way of 
utilising them was to incorporate them in formations. This 
was speedily done, though not without difficulty, and their 
record subsequently as Field units forming part of Divisional 
and Cavalry Divisional organisation has been one of unqualified 
success. The original establishment was based on the 
assumption that it might be possible to hire or impress local 
civilian labour for conducting duties, but it was soon found that 
this was impracticable and an altogether unsatisfactory pro- 
cedure. An increase of A.V.C. Horse-keeper personnel to admit 
of road or rail conducting parties was then made, and the unit, 
became self-contained in all its arrangements, including its own 
transport. For the collection of serious cases a horse drawn 


ambulance was added as part of the transport and many animals 
were salved thereby. The English horse ambulance of pre-war 
days is much too heavy, cumbersome, and with too little road 
, clearance for field work, but a light two-wheeled cattle float as 
used in France, which can be drawn by one horse, proved very 
excellent. TJiere yet remains to be devised a suitable horse 
drawn ambulance as a standard army pattern. 

In its function, a Mobile Veterinary Section is not only the 
centre to which all animals from units of a Division or Cavalry 
Brigade are sent for evacuation, but at times of stationary 
warfare, or during periods of inactivity of the formation to 
which it belongs, it can undertake a certain amount of treat- 
ment of the less serious class of cases. 

Advanced Collecting Posts. 

During offensive operations it was common to throw out 
Advanced Collecting Posts to act as dressing stations and to 
receive battle casualties just in rear of fighting line. These 
posts consisted of a N.C.O. and three or four men of Mobile 
Vety. Sections, but they did not meet with sufficient success to 
warrant their adoption as a regular routine measure, for the 
reason that Mobile "Vety. Sections cannot afford to split up their 
small number of personnel, and moreover battle casualties are 
never so numeroils as might be anticipated. 

Corps Motolle Detachments. 

With the growth of Corps Troops in the B.E.F., France, it 
became necessary to provide for the evacuation of casualties 
from units in the vicinity of Corps Headquarters, and further- 
more, as Mobile Veterinary Sections of Divisions were so 
heavily pressed during the operations on the Somme that they 
could ill afford to send their men down to Veterinary Hospitals 
on L. of C. with casualties (including those of Corps Troops) 
it was considered necessary to interpose some veterinary 
organisation at or near corps railheads. A certain number of 
N.C.O. and men from each Mobile Vety. Section of Divisions 
comprising the corps, supplemented by 20 to 30 privates from 
a Vety. Hospital L. of C. as required for conducting duties, 
were grouped at corps railheads under the Vety. Officer Corps 
Headquarters and termed " Corps Mobile Detachments."- The 


arrangement was not a success, for the reason that the 
personnel was constantly subjected to change when Divisions 
were moved from one Corps to another, so that it was finally 
decided to replace this temporary scratch arrangement by a 
properly organised unit of the nature of a Casualty Clearing 
Station. The result was the incorporation in the veterinary 
organisation of Veterinary Evacuating Stations, so called to 
avoid confusion with their counterpart in medical organisation. 

Veterinary Evacuating Stations. 

These were formed by reducing Mobile Veterinary Sections 
of divisions by the number of privates originally added to them 
for conducting duties ; also by reducing Veterinary Hospitals on 
L. of C. The personnel consisted of one officer and 38 other 
ranks. ■■ 

They were made Army Troops, and allotted, to Corps at the 
rate of one per Corps. A limited amount of transport only was 
allotted to them, as they were located in proximity to Corps 
railhead and movement could be made by rail. They were 
each provided with a motor horse ambulance — a practically 
indispensable article of their organisation. These units proved 
the final and complete link in the chain of evacution of Veteri- 
nary Services in France, and indisputably earned their place in 
the organisation of a great army in war. Mobile Veterinary 
Sections of Divisions and Cavalry Brigades delivered their 
casualties to them, and they in turn transported them to 
Eeception Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Communication. 
Channels ol Evacuation. 

Evacuation from the Field to Lines of Communication is 
usually carried out by rail or road. In the former case 
arrangements are made for trucks on returning empty supply 
trains, between Officers Commanding Mobile Veterinary 
Sections or Veterinary Evacuating Stations, and the Eailway 
Transport Officer at Eailhead. Latterly in France, and 
particularly when the larger clearing units of Veterinary 
Evacuating Stations were established, special sick horse trains 
were arranged at the instance of railway transportation 
authorities, and were found to be highly satisfactory, both 
from the point of view of quicker arrival of the sick animals at 


the Eeception Veterinary Hospitals, L. of C, and from a relief 
of congested traffic conditions inevitable during an offensive 

At times evacuation by road was the only means possible, 
and it may be said to be the normal system of clearance in most 
theatres of war, at least for those animals able to walk. 

To conserve the small number of men of evacuating Veteri- 
nary units, the expedient of a long rope was adopted, by means 
of which twenty horses or mules could be transported by three 
men. The animals were attached to the rope in pairs — one on 
each side of the rope, a man guiding the leading pair, another 
at the end of the rope and the third man in the middle. This 
system of road transportation was greatly practised by both 
Veterinary and Eemount Services during the war. 

The value of horse ambulances, either horse-drawn or motor- 
drawn, for evacuation purposes, need not be further enlarged on. 
They are indispensable factors. The Veterinary Service in the 
B.E.F., France, had twenty-six motor horse ambulances, kindly 
presented by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to 
Animals, and subscribed for by numerous well-wishers of animals 
at home and in the colonies, at an approximate cost of i£30,000. 
They were designed to carry two animals, and unquestionably 
they paid for themselves in a very short space of time in the 
number of animals saved. Their use in war need not be 
restricted to the conveyance of sick or wounded horses, for 
there are occasions when it may be necessary to get forward 
quickly cows for the supply of fresh milk to medical units, or 
even troops in the fighting line. The latter might particularly 
apply to India. On one occasion in France a party of Royal 
Army Veterinary Corps under an officer, and with three motor 
horse ambulances, cleared a stud of brood mares and foals from 
a district threatened by the enemy. 

Another method of evacuation practised in Flanders was by 
canal barges. The Veterinary Service there maintained a fleet 
of five barges drawn by steam tugs. Each barge was fitted up 
for thirty-two animals, and a very limited number of personnel 
was required. Starting say at 10 a.m. from the Evacuating 
Station they would arrive about 4 p.m. at the Reception 
Veterinary Hospital, and the journey was performed under the 


most comfortable and easy cii-cumstances. Unfortunately the. 
enemy destroyed locks on their retreat, and barge work became 
limited in operation. Barges were also used for transport of 
sick animals between Havre and Eouen, and from these places 
to Paris for disposal, railway transportation thereb}' being 

In transporting sick and enfeebled animals, particularly by 
train, which during hot seasons of the year is very exhausting, 
the greatest care must be exercised in watering and feeding eti 
route. A Non-Commissioned Officer accompanies each train or 
road party, and one private per truck (latterly reduced to one 
per two trucks) is detailed. Rations for men and forage for 
animals to cover the journey are drawn through the supply 
officer at railhead. Even though there may be recognised 
halting places for watering en route by rail, the varying circum- 
stances of transit during war make their use uncertain, so that 
watering arrangements must be self-contained and water 
carried in the trucks or with the animals in some manner. In 
France many water carriers were improvised, i.e., empty 
biscuit tins, petrol tins, etc., but the most satisfactory receptacles 
were the cartridge cases of large calibre shells. By arrange- 
ment with the Ordnance they were transported to the Base by 
Veterinary Service and made use of as water receptacles for 
sick animals e?i route. Very excellent rubber containers in 
canvas cases and of approximately ten gallons capacity were; 
also introduced by Ordnance Service and were held in charge^ 
of Veterinary Evacuating Units and Hospitals. In Standing 
Camp for animals which could not walk to a watering place,, 
petrol tins on a pack saddle, or a Willesden canvas tank, capacity 
110 gallons, accurately fitting a limbered General Service 
Wagon and removable when the wagon was required for 
usual purposes, was adopted by Mobile Veterinary Sections. 

In the matter of equipment and medicines. Evacuating Units 
are complete according to their mobilisation scale. 

All animals evacuated must be accompanied by an Evacuation 
Eoll giving a serial number, a short description, the units to. 
which they belonged, and the reason for which evacuated. The- 
object of this is not only to keep a check on the animals, and 
thus avoid loss or theft, but as all are tested with mallein for 


glanders on arrival at the Eeception Veterinary Hospital, any 
reactors may be referred to the unit at the front and immediate 
action there taken. It is the practice also to attach a special 
descriptive label (white for medical cases, green for surgical, and 
red for mange or other communicable disease) to the head 
collar, the label being rolled up under the tongue of the buckle. 

The designation of the Mobile Veterinary Section or Vety. 
Evacuating Station and the serial number of the case is 
stencilled on the quarters of the animal so that identification 
becomes very easy. The stencils can be easily made from wire 
in common use. 

In conclusion of this Chapter, it is instructive to note that 
between the 18th August 1914 and 23rd January 1919, over 
half a million sick and wounded animals were collected and 
passed through Mobile Veterinary Sections and Veterinary 
Evacuating Stations in the B.E.F., France, a fact which is 
sufficient justification for their inclusion in the establishment of 
an army in the field. Between 2600 and 3500 animals per week 
were admitted to hospital, the record number, so far as my 
memory serves me, being 4512. And the organisation was so 
simple that evacuation proceeded automatically. 

Chaptee VI. 



Veterinary Hospitals are Lines of Comriumication units. 
Their location is guided by convenience of Eailway, Supply 
Transport, and Eemount Services. 

Usually, one is placed at the base or bases where main 
Eemount Depots are situated, as a considerable amount of 
sickness is usual in remounts newly arrived, particularly from 
overseas. Others are suitably placed at the Advanced Base, or 
at centres conveniently accessible from particular sectors of the 
fighting line. They are the main feature of the Veterinary 
Service, and are specially designed, organised, and equipped for 
skilled treatment and the comfort of the. patient in every way. 


Veterinary Service has just reason to be proud of its hospitals 
during the Great War in its various theatres, and of its achieve- 
ments in treatment both medical and surgical. As may be 
imagined the experience gained in surgery has been of 
incalculable value to the veterinary profession as a whole. It 
is quite impossible to describe adequately the efficiency to 
which these units attained during the war. Results, and 
particularly in surgical treatment, were astounding. 

An idea of the magnitude of work done in Veterinary 
Hospitals and Convalescent Horse Depots in France will be 
gathered from the following summary covering the period from 
18th August 1914 to 23rd January 1919 :— 

Admitted ... ... ... 725,216 

Cured ... ... ... 529,064 

Died ... ... ... 18,975 

Destroyed (including animals destroyed 

and sold for food). ... ... 127,741 

Sold to agriculturists ... ... 29,524 

Remaining under treatment . . . 19,912 

Total ... 725,216 
In stating these figures it is at the same time necessary to 
mention the following facts in connection with them. The 
principle of the Veterinary Service was to get down from the 
front as many animals as it was possible to save ; in other words 
to give every animal a chance. Many were hopeless from the 
start, and others from an economic point of view were not worth 
treatment. But they commanded a commercial value either 
for purposes of food, or for by-products in the case of those 
deemed by Vety. Officers to be unsuitable for food. 

The number of destructions may seem high, but the foregoing 
table will explain this, and it will be shown in a subsequent 
chapter that the total receipts for disposal as food in Army areas 
and in Veterinary Hospitals up to 31st March 1919 amounted 
to the large sum of £1,328,000, while the profit accruing from 
by-products was ±'56,000. It will be realised also that with 
over four years of war, the working efficiency of animals 
individually became much impaired, and that a Category B in 
animals resulted in like manner to that of men. 













The percentage of cures in veterinary hospitals up to the 
second year of the war amounted to 84 per cent. ; it then came 
down to 82%, 80%, 78%, and gradually lower. The care of 
animals improved as the War progressed, but the constant 
strain of service weakened resistance and recuperative powers 
of individual animals. Again, without specific mention or 
experience, the difficulties of a large army landing in a foreign 
country, and without cover for animals, either healthy or sick, 
can hardly be appreciated. During the first winter in France, 
a truly dreadful one in p6int of rainy weather, excepting a 
certain number of brick sheds, there was no available covered 
accommodation for sick animals nor for newly landed remounts, 
the remount heavy draughts suffering heavily from catarrhal 
and respiratory sickness of an infectious nature. Conditions 
and circumstances during the very ^arly days of the war in 
France were exceedingly hard on animals. Inefficiency during 
the first winter, and about the time of the first battle of Ypres 
stood at 15'8%. In later periods, though in winter it rose to 
12%, it was brought down during the good weatner of summer 
to as low as 7"4% at times. I propose, however, to deal with 
inefficiency and disease under the Section which will be 
devoted to " Wastage of animals in War." 

The Veterinary Hospital provision for the original Bxpedi- 
sionary Force comprised six Veterinary Sections each consisting 
of 2 Officers, 5 Staff Sergeants and Sergeants, 6 Corporals, 10 
Dressers, 4 Artificers, 83 Horse keepers (Cavalry Eeservists) 
and 4 Batmen, the. establishment of each Section being for the 
treatment of 250 patients. These could be utilised singly as 
Hospitals or grouped together, as circumstances necessitated. 
The total provision was therefore for 1250 sick animals, which 
for a Force of 53,000 animals represented approximately 2^ per 
cent., a totally inadequate provision (Note. — Hospital provision 
in peace is 6 per cent.). Personnel had to be detailed from 
reinforcements of combatant branches, and the evil of borrowing, 
which exists in India at the present day, showed itself in the 
early days of the war in France. 

Reorganisation of Veterinary Services then became the order 
of the day. Veterinary Hospitals on the basis of 1000 sick 
animals were formed, complete with personnel on a self- 
contained basis. . With the growth of the force these were at 


first increased to 1250 and subsequently to 2,000 patients each. 
From an economic point of view in conserving officer and man 
power, the larger hospitals are commendable. It is cheaper to 
add to an existing institution and establishment than to create 
new units. Military Works Services are simplified, and con- 
veniences of railways, supply, and transport are the better met. 
It was found that our Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and 
men could handle a unit of 2000 sick animals just as easily as 
a smaller unit, provided the interior economy and working 
followed definite lines of decentralization of duties, which in 
all hospitals was adopted to an efficient end. 

The original unit of 250 patients has consistently been 
preserved by Veterinary Service in its hospital organisation 
and marks a sub-division of a large hospital, each sub-division 
in personnel being a small complete unit in itself, capable of 
being detached if necessary, singly or in groups, to meet 
varying circumstances of forward movement, etc. The follow- 
ing table will make this clear : — 

i^w VCbCl. 

iiiiu jr 














H Total 

Officer Commanding 












Adjt. and Q.-mr. 


Warrant Officer 


Staff Sergeants 




















Lance Sergeants 






















Lance Corporals 

(including Dressers) 











Privates (Dressers) 











Privates (Grooms, etc.) 











Farr. Q.-m. Sergeant 



Parr. Staff Sergeants , 

and Sergeants 






S. S. Corporals 






Shoeing Smiths 










Saddler Corporal 







Provision of personnel and accommodation for Veterinary 
Hospitals and Convalescent Horse Depots on L. of C. in the 
B.E.F., France, was on the basis of 10 per cent, sick of the 
Force : 7 per cent, of this was Veterinary Hospital and 3 
per cent. Convalescent Horse Depot. Two per cent, was the 
normal amount of minor sickness maintained at the Front. 
In November 191.5 the L. of C. provision was cut down to 
8 per cent., but so heavy were the casualties and so great the 
congestion and overcrowding that a return to the 10 per cent, 
basis was forced upon us. At one time as many as 45,000 
sick animals had to be cared for on L. of C. and it will 
readily be realised that the provision of accommodation for 
this number placed no light tax both on the Military Works 
and Veterinary Services. Accommodation for 39,600 sick 
and convalescent animals was actually provided, and this 
amount would never have been reached if Veterinary Service 
had not accepted the principle of rendering assistance in 
personnel to the Military Works Service in the construction 
of their installations. The man-power situation absolutely 
necessitated it, and there was the constantly burning desire 
to get the sick under cover during inclement weather, which 
seemed ever to prevail. It is necessary in this article to 
dilate somewhat on stable construction, as the success of 
treatment greatly depended on hygienic surroundings and 
suitable facilities for work, and there are one or two items 
that I would specially like to mention. 

Lay-out Plan. This was in blocks of 250 standings on the 
sub-divisional basis above mentioned, the lines of stabling being 
double, with a partition between. The lines . were thirty-six 
feet apart, with an alley way of nine feet behind the animals, 
the rest of the space being laid away to grass. Two stalls 
could be converted into one loose box or enclosure if desired, 
and at the end of each line was an expense forage store. Eoads 
between blocks were a first consideration, and it was necessary 
to limit the movement of animals and transport, otherwise a 
quagmire was the result. Each block had its own dressing 
sheds, forge, water troughs, etc., so that they were separate 
entities in view of any outbreak of contagious disease. Mangers 
were of continuous iron sheeting and could be easily disinfected. 


Many of the hay racks were made from hay-band wire, in fact 
this article was made use of for very nmnerous pm-poses. 

Material of buildings. Some stables were of wood, and were 
erected under contract. Others were of iron of standard 
pattern obtained from England and could easily be screwed 
together and erected by our own men. They could be taken 
down and erected elsewhere if a forward move was necessary. 

Horse tents. In the very early days of the war, when there 
was little in the way of covered accommodation, I chanced to 
find a circus owner stranded at Gom-nay-en-Bray, and obtained 
permission to purchase his tents, including a large round 
performance tent, four horse tents, which would accommodate 
forty horses each, and an elephant tent. A chalk pit at the 
Advanced Base comfortably held the large round tent. Its 
numerous poles were shortened by three feet, its top was 
lowered, and it remained in glorious function in its abode, 
affording accommodation for 160 horses for nearly two years, 
until Anno Domini tolled the knell of its demise. The horse 
tents proved invaluable, and were the origin of a complete 
tented hospital and several tented sub-divisions of other 
hospitals. One hundred and two horse tents, each holding fifty 
horses in a double row, were maintained by Veterinary Service 
in France. They were easily erected, were stable in bad 
weather if made to proper design, and animals did well in them. 
They should form part of the mobilisation equipment of 
Veterinary Hospitals and with ordinary care will last two years. 

Stable floors. I was often asked the question whether I 
would have "pucca" standings or overhead cover. Any one 
who had experience of the mud of France and Flanders would 
have found no difficulty in replying, and would have plumped 
for pucca standings every time. Solid standings and hygienic 
surroundings are indispensable factors in institutions for the 
treatment of sick and wounded, and particularly where con- 
tagious ailments are concerned. Stable floors exercised the 
attention of hospital commanders in France more than any 
other item of hospital management. The material used 
comprised bricks on edge, beech planking, stones, cobbles, 
cement, and wooden blocks. Perhaps the best of all was pine 
or beech trees sawn across in four-and-a-half-inch blocks, and 


set in tessellated form in chalk and cinders or sand. Such a, 
floor lasts indefinitely and is not slippery. 

Water troughs. A great feature of Veterinary Hospitals and 
Depots was water troughs. The earlier ones were wooden 
with zinc lining, or canvas on wooden frame, but the latest and 
cheapest were of reinforced concrete and were made by the 
hospital personnel on the spot. Each line of stables had its. 
own water trough with water laid on, so that if any untoward 
outbreak of contagious disease occurred, its spread was limited. 

It is very difficult in a limited space .to chronicle all that 
appertains to a Veterinary Hospital, but before passing on to 
notice its legitimate function, there are a few things worthy of 

The category of the personnel has been previously alluded to. 
They were most comfortably hutted, and it would have been 
impossible to have found any body of men even in peace more 
blessed with comfort in their well-ordered barrack rooms, their 
messes and dining halls. Their pleasures were not forgotten, 
and there were Y.M.C.A. and Church Army Huts, and Force 
Canteens for their off times. Gardening was the order of the 
day when work was done, and to such a degree was this 
encouraged that the majority of Veterinary Hospitals were 
self-supporting in vegetables for the whole year. 

The good order and well kept premises reflected on the 
Well-being and smartness of the men, and made for the more 
successful working. Even the animals appreciated their cleanly 
and it may be said beautiful surroundings. For them it was 
intended to grow green crops and roots all the year round, and 
sanction had been given for 100 acres of land per hospital for 
the pm-pose, but the end of the war came before it could be 
carried into effect. 

Amongst other economies may be mentioned the extraction 
of gas (carburetted hydrogen) from horse manure at one or 
two hospitals, and the utilisation of it for cooking horse food. 
It is a simple process, but requires a pit for proper production. 

Straw bedding was not possible, It was much better to put 
such a valuable article into the animals bellies than under their 
feet. Each Veterinary Hospital and Convalescent Horse Depot 
was equipped with power chaff-cutting and corn-crushing 
machinery and there was nothing wasted. 


Veterinary Hospitals and their Functional Kole. 

It is quite impossible, and it would be outside the scope of this 
woi-k to describe in detail the methods pursued in treatment 
and the technicalities attached thereto. It will be realised that 
innumerable ailments in varying degrees were encountered 
during the four-and-a-half years of hostilities; the more serious 
of them, constituting grave wastage, will be dealt with in the 
chapter under the heading of " Wastage of Animals in War." 
It will, however, be instructive to outline the grouping of 
hospitals for practical work, and to follow the course of animals 
through them. 

With operations of such magnitude and with the total large 
number of casualties to be handled, it was found both from an 
administrative and practical working point of view, that 
Hospitals were best located in groups of two or three together, 
each group (excepting essentially base hospitals) functioning for 
particular sectors of the front line. Each group consisted of : — 
Eeception Hospital : Mange Hospital : General Hospital. 

On arrival at the Eeception Hospital patients were subjected 
to the mallein test, were inspected, sorted and despatched, with 
a minimum loss of time, to one of the adjacent hospitals accord- 
ing to the nature of their maladies. If any cases were 
considered hopeless or economically not worth treatment, they 
were put aside for inspection of the Deputy Director of Vety. 
Services, L. of C, and his orders taken as to their disposal for 
purposes of food or otherwise. 

Those animals requiring immediate surgical treatment were 
subjected to operation at the Eeception Hospital, and it was no 
uncommon sight to see three animais in the operating theatre 
under chloroform at the same time. At some Eeception ' 
Hospitals unloading arrangements were so complete that they 
were provided with their special railway sidings. Eeception 
Hospitals also undertook treatment of medital and surgical 
cases in the same manner as a General Hospital, in addition to 
reception work. 

Mange cases were transferred to Mange Hospitals as soon as 
possible, where special treatment was applied; dipping baths 
being part of their equipment. 


Cases of debility which required only rest and feeding up 
were despatched direct to Convalescent Horse Depots, one or 
more of which was reasonably convenient to the various groups. 

At the Reception Hospitals each animal was given a hospital 
card on which was stated the date of its admittance, a brief 
description, the unit to which it belonged, and its ailment. 
The card accompanied the animal wherever it was transferred, 
treatment was entered on it, and it was filed on discharge. 
Some check was necessary on the length of time animals 
remained under treatment, as obviouslj- it was financially 
unsound to maintain them in Hospital indefinitely. The above 
mentioned cards were therefore carefully scrutinised, and 
moreover a " Form at a Glance " showing numbers under 
treatment by weeks was kept up. 

Very few animals were permitted to reside in hospital beyond 
three months. In addition to those palpably worthless, which 
were speedily disposed of, any animals resident six weeks and 
over were shown to the D.D.V.S., L. of C, for consideration of 
further retention or for casting. They were again seen by him 
periodically. Castings were fairly free, as chronically unsound 
cases were of no use for front line work if patched up. Certain 
horses, particularly of a good draught type, considered fit for 
work on Lines of Communication, were branded on the foot, 
with the letters V.B. signifying "Veterinary Base." There 
were a good many of this category towards the end of the war,, 
and it was possible to' re-classify some of them for service at the 
front. The transport of Veterinary Hospitals was either of thia. 
category, or of patients worked for a short time to get them fit 
before discharge to Eemount Depots. Unfortunately, as I will 
allude to later on, so many fine valuable horses suffered from 
disease of the eyes resulting in blindness, but they were equal 
to useful work on L. of C. Whether it was a case of " What, 
the eye doesn't see, the heart never grieves," or whether it 
Was parallel to the feeding of ducks in a dark cellar, the 
majority of blind horses became fat and maintained wonderful- 
condition. A pair of blind draught horses belonging to a 
Veterinary Hospital took first prize at a Horse Show for the. 
best horses of the Show. 


On an average 3000 horses were discharged cured to the 
demount Services weekly, and a special point was made of 'the 
good order in which they were turned out. Stable management 
is just as important in a Hospital as the actual treatment of 
ailments, and I have no hesitation in saying that Veterinary 
Hospitals excelled in their stable, and line management. It is 
little good being authorities on the subject if the example is not 
shown. And it was no easy task during the wet and muddy 
times of winter to clean and groom the majority of animals, 
foul of skin and caked with mud as they arrived from the front. 

The disposal of these animals wasted by war, their death at 
times from absolute exhaustion, their destruction whether for 
food or otherwise represents the saddest side to the Service 
whose rightful mission is to cure not to kill ; but we are 
cheered by the fact that never in the history of war were 
sick, wounded, and enfeebled animals, tended with more care 
and sympathetic consideration in hardships which are insepar- 
able from war. It is right for me here also to mention the 
kind thought of persons far off from the scene of battle, who 
contributed so liberally with their money to lessen the hard lot 
of the creatures engaged in war. Through the agency of the 
Eoyal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which 
was duly accredited as a Voluntary Aid Society by the War 
Office, the enormous sum of £100,000 was subscribed and 
devoted to the provision of complete Veterinary Hospitals, 
Horse Ambulances (both horse drawn and motor), and many 
other appliances for the benefit of disabled animals in France. 

Convalescent Horse Depots. 

In veterinary organization these institutions are not alto- 
gether for animals convalescing after a period of residence in a 
hospital. They are essentially for animals run down and poor 
in condition, and requiring an extended rest. Medical and 
surgical cases requiring special treatment are not admitted. 
The nature of the treatment in Convalescent Horse Depots is 
therefore feeding and building up, and it is to the careful and 
scientific side of dieting that attention has to be paid. 

The working plant must include chaff-cutting and grain 
crushing machinery and apparatus for boiling food. The 


articles of diet must be varied in kind and amount, and include 
those known to produce the best results. 

Eest is necessary for the worn-out and debilitated, and there- 
fore in the construction of Convalescent Horse Depots provision 
should be made both for stables during inclement weather or 
when animals are brought up for grooming, and for paddocks 
where they can roam at liberty. Furthermore, as so much of 
the debility, exhaustion and poverty in animals in war is from 
lack of drinking water in the areas of operations. Convalescent 
Eorse Depots must be bountifully supplied with good water for 
animals to take their fill as they desire. 

The objective study of animal exhaustion and debility is real 
business for the Veterinarian. Curious phases present them- 
selves. Prostration for days, flickers of life, faintings, palpita- 
tions, fits and other nervous symptoms are all to be observed, 
then sudden return of vitality and rapid improvement. One 
can reahse the value of a grass field or an enclosure with soft 
sand or earth to lie on, under such circumstances. 

The operations on the Marne and the Aisne in the early days 
of the War produced a large number of debilitated animals, 
and as soon as the Military situation permitted, approximately 
-3000 horses were turned out to grass towards the end of Sept- 
ember at Gournay-en-Bray between Dieppe and Paris in the 
rich pasture lands there, the allotment being three horses to the 
hectare (2|- acres). In a fortnight they were different creatures. 
Convalescent Horse Depots were thus conceived, and Gournay 
became from that time until the end of the war our principal 
Convalescent Horse Depot. It functioned chiefly for Hospitals 
on Southern line of Communication and the Armies based 
thereon. 1180 hectares (2915 acres) of land were leased 
annually at the average price of 23 francs per hectare monthly, 
and animals were run out from the beginning of May to the 
middle or end of November. The Depot was organized for 
4000 animals in summer and 1200 in winter. It consisted of a 
Headquarters and several Centres, each being provided with 
stabling to which horses could be brought up from the various 
pastures for grooming, shoeing, etc., prior to discharge to 
Kemount Depots. Three Veterinary Hospitals were in the 
neighbourhood, to any of which the animals requiring hospital 


treatment were sent. The personnel for attendance was very 
small comparatively with hospitals. Grazing had to be supple- 
mented by a ration of grain and hay, in accordance with the 
season, but there were enough pastures to allow of their being 
rested for a while and the grass to grow after being eaten down. 
The free life at pasture during summer was excellent for the 
animals on the whole. It has, however, certain drawbacks. 
With large mobs of horses and much dung (animals at grass 
always produce a large amount of dung) flies are troublesome. 
Animals huddle together to get away from these pests, they do 
not feed during the heat of the day, preferring to congregate 
under trees. Hard ground of smnmer is bad for the lame, and 
as a rule heavy draught horses never do very w"ell at grass. 
Mules are much more concerned with what is going on in 
various other pastures, and the kraal system is the best for them. 
We attempted to keep horses on pasture at Gournaj- during 
the winter in the same manner as ^^•as practised at Lathrop in 
the U.S.A. with Remounts during the Boer War, but in spite 
of the well-sheltered fields, the experiment was a hopeless 
failure and had to be abandoned. The winter of 1914-15 was. 
extremely wet, and the mire was too severe for debilitated 
horses. Moreover it was difficult to get the necessary food into 
the sodden undrained pastures. Impoverished animals cannot 
stand inclement weather : the only practical way of managing, 
them, during winter at least, is to bring them into coyer. 
, On the whole, therefore, the most satisfactory form of 
Convalescent Horse Depot is an arrangement of corrals or 
enclosures, and as there was no grass land available on the 
Northern L. of C. in France, it was on this plan that the- 
Convalescent Horse Depots in that area was constructed. They 
were organised on a basis of 1200 animals. One was laid out. 
in the form of " pawnbrokers balls," each block or ball being 
surrounded by an exercising track, and divided into enclosures 
50 yards by 40 yards with an alley way down the centre for a 
Decauville railway for carrying forage, removal of dung, etc. 
The enclosures were for 50 horses or mules each, and each was 
provided with a water trough. Stabling with pucca floors was 
erected on two sides of the enclosures. Another Depot was 
rectangular, with enclosures 100 yards b}- 50 yards, each for 10(> 


horses, and with the same provision of covered standings, water- 
troughs, Decauville railway, etc. Both were built on sand, the 
dunes on the French coast line being excellent for the purpose- 

The personnel and transport for a Convalescent Horse Depot 
for 1200 animals consisted of : — 

Officers, E.A.V.C. 2 Lance Corporals 10 

(O.C. of the rank of Major) 
Quartermaster 1 Farrier Sergeant 1 

Staff Sergeant 1 Shoeingsmith Corporals 2 

Sergeants 4 Shoeingsmiths 8 

Corporals 6 Privates 163 

Transport. Tip-carts 5, Water-cart 1, Horse Ambulance 1, 
General Service Wagons 2, Motor Lorry 1. 

In the general working of these depots 400 animals were 
under grooming, exercise and preparation for discharge to 
Eemount Service, the remainder being at liberty in the corrals. 
Endeavour was made to turn out 200 per week, but discharge 
rarely reached that number and depended greatly on the state 
of the animals on admission. The personnel was detailed in 
accordance with this distribution, the grooming staff being 
approximately at the rate of 1 man to 5 animals, and the corral 
attendants at 1 to 12 animals. 

On admission hind shoes (sometimes fore shoes also) were 
removed, and animals were placed in the corrals by classes, viz.. 
Heavy Draught, Light Draught, Eiders, and Mules. Eiders 
and draught horses do not get on well together at liberty. At 
feeding times the lighter, vivacious riding horses clear the 
heavier and more lethargic animals away from the feeding 
troughs. Then again, grouping in all classes has to be made 
according to individual cases — whether they are delicate feeders 
or otherwise, and whether they are in poor or medium 
condition. Inspection of teeth is necessary, indeed this resolved 
itself into a routine procedure in Veterinary Hospitals and 
Convalescent Horse Depots, as abnormalities of teeth were 
found to be so very frequent and requiring remedy. One 
Veterinary Hospital in France even had a dental room. 

Ordinarily Convalescent Horse Depots are the rendez-vous of 
the flotsam and jetsam of war ; and castings of the chronically 


inefficient, and the old and worn out, are very frequent. A 
general weeding out has to be made. It is an interesting fact 
that during the last two years of the war, 11 per cent, of 
a,nimals evacuated from the front for various ailments were 
fifteen years old and over, and it was important in view of 
disposal to keep a record of this situation. 

It was also very necessary to keep a close watch over animals 
at liberty, whether in pastures or in corrals, on account of 
contagious disease, especially glanders and mange, owing to the 
greater liability to outbreaks of this class of disease in debilitated 
animals, and the, danger of insidious spread when so much 
individual attention is not admissible. In the dirty coats 
during winter, lice and mange parasites find a fine shelter. 

Sand is apt to get foul with constant use of corrals, and it was 
necessary to rest the corrals, clean them out, and replenish with 
fresh sand from the dunes. Droppings were gathered up in 
osier baskets, and it was a noticeable feature of both Veterinary 
Hospitals and Convalescent Horse Depots that no dung was to 
be seen anywhere in the lines. A certain amount of sand colic 
was encountered, chiefly amongst new hungry arrivals and in 
those animals with capricious or depraved appetites common to 
ill-conditioned animals, but this was counteracted by a plentiful 
ration and water, an admixture of salt in their food, and feeding 
systematically and regularly out of mangers and hay racks. A 
certain number of leather muzzles were also in use. The 
advantages of a comfortable bed of sand for the weak and 
worn-out far outweighed the disadvantages of occasional cases 
of sand colic. It was a wonderful sight on a sunny day to see 
scores of them lying prone on the sand resting like dogs, and 
one of the first acts on being let loose from stables in the early 
morning — particularly the mules, was to roll in the sand. 

As previously remarked, feeding was the essence of treatment. 
Debility or poor conditioned animals must have chaffed food 
and a good deal of it. The greater part of their hay and straw 
ration was chaffed, and Depots were provided with machinery 
that would chaff about two tons per hour. Grain was also 
crushed. Bran and linseed cake were indispensable factors. 
The sugary locust beans were also appreciated. 


A noticeable fact, which rather upsets one's ideas of the 
stereotyped army routine order of watering before feeding, is 
that horses at liberty after partaking of food from their manger 
will troop off to the water trough and take a drink. It is 
nature's way. A!nd the stableman, therefore, who places water 
either in a bucket or otherwise beside his horse in the stall is 
following a correct principle. 

Fresh arrivals required no exercise beyond the quietness of 
walking about their enclosures, but later on, exercise was a part 
of the daily routine of treatment. Exercising tracks formed 
part of the installations, and animals were led and driven round 
in batches with a minimum of attendants. By this means 
they improved much more quickly. They also were worked in 
the Depot Transport for the same reason. 

The system of identification and treatment cards was exactly 
the same as in hospitals, and inspections for castings by the 
D.D.V.S. similarly carried out. 

During the war a large number were passed through 
Convalescent Horse Depots. Castings were naturally heavier 
than in hospitals, but the depots proved themselves valuable and 
successful parts of veterinary organisation, supplying a much 
felt need to a class of case that tended to congest Veterinary 
Hospitals. Moreover, they were run at a less cost per animal 
than the latter units. 

Chapter VII. 


The Director of Veterinary Services with a Field Force is 
responsible for the provision of all Veterinary Stores. 

The organisation controlled by him for the supply and 
distribution of the same, consists of : — 

A Base Depot or Depots of Veterinary Stores 
An Advanced Depot or Depots of Veterinary Stores 
according to the size and distribution of the Force. 

Ordinarily, the allotment which is most suitable is one Base 
Depot per L. of C. and one Advanced Depot per Army. 

Each has a recognised War Establishment. 


Base Depots ol Veterinary stores. 

A Base Depot or Depots of Veterinary Stores is held ready 
in peace time, and despatched with an Expeditionary Force. 
They are located at the Base, as the name indicates. The 
amount of stores they maintain is calculated to last three 
months. They function for all Veterinary Hospitals and units 
on L. of C. and feed the Advanced Depots. 

Eeplenishment is made either by mdent on the Army 
Veterinary Stores, Woolwich, or by local pm'chase, whichever 
is cheaper. In India, Medical Store Depots take the place of 
Army Veterinary Stores, and all replenishments are made 
through them. 

Proper ledger accounts are kept and are scrutinised by the 
Director of Veterinary Services and Financial Adviser as may 
be deemed necessary. 

The establishment consists of one officer and six other ranks. 
The officer may be a well proved warrant officer, E.A.V.C, 
promoted to temporary commissioned rank, the services of a. 
Veterinary Officer thereby being saved. 

Advanced Depots of Veterinary Stores. 

These small units of one sergeant and three other ranks are 
formed in the field, and their function is to supply field units. 
Though their allotment may be at the rate of one per Army, 
the actual number required and their distribution depends on 
circumstances of railway arrangements. 

Experience has shown that they are best located at Eegulating 
Stations, and the forward despatch of stores to units at the front 
carried out through the Military Forwarding Officers at these 
places. In France, until this was done there was constant 
trouble, and stores were frequently lost. Only three Advanced 
Depots of Veterinary Stores were formed in the British 
Expeditionary Force. One was subsequently withdrawn to a 
Base Depot and converted into a repair unit, the Base Depot 
functioning for both L. of C. and the Armies fed from that. 

Supply and Distribution ol Veterinary Equipment, 
with Field Units. 

This has already been alluded to, and little more remains to- 
be said. All units mobilised with certain articles of Field 


Veterinary equipment as laid down in Mobilisation Store 
Tables. In course of time this was found to exceed require- 
ments and it was cut down. Moreover, Veterinary Wallets 
and Officers' Chests were made a personal charge instead of a 
tmit charge. The saving was very considerable. The policy 
now followed is a minimum of equipment with field units 
including Veterinary units, and the institution of Advanced 
Depots convenient for replenishment of field equipment and 
necessaries as required. When animals are freely evacuated 
and there is little regimental treatment, there is no necessity 
for a large amount of Veterinary equipment and stores with 
field units. 

In India, the old idea of regimental treatment still exists to a 
considerable extent. The provision of veterinary ^equipment is 
enormous, and entails a large amount of transport to carry it. 
The scale has, however, recently been reduced and the home 
system which has stood the test of a large war will be 
introduced. A very large saving will be effected thereby. 

Chapter VIII. 

In all theatres of war the necessity for Veterinary Bacterio- 
logical Laboratories was soon apparent, and in course of time 
these were duly established. Their function relates to 
microscopical diagnosis, research, and the manufacture, if 
necessary, ot sera and vaccines for treatment. 

This item of veterinary organisation in the field is yet in its 
infancy, and with the gradual advancement of Veterinary 
Science will be susceptible of great and better development. 
Matters of chemical as well as bacteriological investigation 
present themselves to Veterinary Service in the field, and 
without self-contained means, the assistance of the Medical 
Branch has to be solicited. Notable instances of this in France 
were the poisoning of animals through sewage contamination of 
village ponds, and poisoning by adulterated oil cakes used for 


To meet the situation, combined Bacteriological and Hygiene 
Laboratories would be suitable for Veterinary Service. 

In the B. E. F., France, a Base Bacteriological Laboratory 
was located at Eouen. It was complete with all modern 
apparatus, presented by the Royal Society for the Prevention of 
Cruelty to Animals from their subscribed Fund, and performed 
useful work. The same Society fitted out small laboratories 
for diagnosis purposes with five Veterinary Hospitals on Lines 
of Communication. A desire also was expressed to attach a 
sinall Motor Laboratory to the Headquarters of each Army; 
and without question it was a step in the right direction. It is 
an item of veterinary organization which should be considered 
in future mobilisation. 


Wastage of Animals in War. 

Chapter I.— GBNBEAL. 

Sonie years previous to the late war, while engaged on an 
article entited " Horses of different Countries and their Supply 
with relation to Military Service " read before the Royal 
United Service Institution, London, I roughly endeavoured to 
arrive at an estimate of the equine population of the world. 
My calculations amounted at that time to close on 80,000,000. 
The United States Department of Agriculture, in the very 
valuable Reports of their Bureau of Animal Industry, computed 
the number at 75,000,000. 

By Continents, I estimated the number approximately as 
follows :— 

Europe ... ... ... 40,000,000 

Asia ... ... ... 11,000,000 

Africa ... ... ... 1,250,000 

Western ) U.S.A. Canada and Mexico 19,000,000 
Hemisphere [Central and South America 6,000,000 

(Austraha and New Zealand chiefly) 2,000,000 


Of the 40,000,000 in Europe there were in :— 

Russia (European Russi^.) ... 22,096,000 




Austria Hungary 

... ... 


(A.uatria 1,711,000 : 

Hungary 2,309,000) 





... , , , 



Norway ■■• • 151,000 

Denmark ... ••• 449,000 

Holland ... - 28.5,000 

Belgium ... - 241,000 

Switzerland ... ... 109,000 

Portugal ... ... 220,000 

Spain ... ... 397,000 

Greece ... •■■ 100,000 

Turkey (in Europe) ... 300,000 

Bulgaria ... ■.. 344,000 

Servia ... ... 180,000 

Rumania ... ... 864,000 

The United Kingdom of 

Great Britain and Ireland ... 3,000,000 

Taking the British Empire, my computation amounted to 
approximately 8,000,000, distributed as follows : — 

The United Kingdom ... 3,000,000 

Australia ... ... 1,626,000 

New Zealand ... ... 287,000 

India ... ... 1,343,000 

Canada ... ... 1,-500,000 

South Africa (including Natal) 250,000 

Jamaica ... ... 47,000 

Mauritius ... ... 12,000 

Malta ... ... 8,000 

Newfoundland ... ... 6,000 

Ceylon ... ... 4,000 

Falklands ... ... 3,000 


The above figures must be taken as approximate only. They 
are also somewhat old, and subject to change by time, but I 
deem it necessary to quote them to show roughly the resources 
in animals of the various Powers which have participated in 
the late World War, and to preface a discussion on Wastage, 
•which to a very considerable extent is dependent on Resources. 

The Tables will also serve to illustrate the important fact 
that the Allies during the late World War had the command of 


the majority of the useful animals of the World, and particularly 
of those that were essential for the draught purposes of Artillery 
and Transport, so greatly in demand. In a war of such long 
duration and of such severity in respect to both human and 
animal participators, the practical command of the most useful 
war animals was a weapon in the hands of the Allies that went 
a long way towards the downfall of the enemy. 

Honour, therefore, to those noble creatures, who, under 
circumstances indescribable in their awfulness at times, shared 
their lot with human beings, who suffered with a dumb 
obedience, and helped to " win the war." 

No Nation or Army has probably had more experience of 
animals in the Field than our own, and such experienced gained 
in respect to the different classes of animals employed should 
constitute us authorities in ways and means of avoiding wastage. 
The reports of Army Veterinary Service in our numerous 
campaigns in different countries and under varying circum- 
stances form very absorbing reading. The achievements of 
animals are on occasion wonderful, but alas there are pages of 
unhappy disclosures where wastage was excessive to a degree, 
reflecting on our system of management and business acumen. 

Broadly speaking, there are two classes of wastage : Prevent- 
able wastage, and wastage by Act of God, inseparable from 
war. Though here I shall treat of both, it is to the former 
that my thoughts are specially directed, and if any remarks of 
mine will serve as a means to keep this class of wastage ever in 
subjection, I shall not have written in vain. 

To go into the subject without further preamble, I shall 
divide my remarks under the following major headings : — 

Prevention op Wastage and Inefficiency. 

Causes op Wastage and Inefficiency. 

Wastage Peculiar to India. 


Chapter II. 

Causa sublata tollitur effectus (Eemove the cause and the 
effects will cease) is one of the first principles of Medical and 
Veterinary Science. It goes in double harness with the old 
hackneyed expression " Prevention is better than cure." Both 
axioms are applicable to other spheres and circumstances than 
Medical or Veterinary Science. It is very easy to theorize on 
" preventable wastage," but it is a difficult proposition in war 
to draw the line between what is preventable and what is non- 
preventable wastage. Moreover, complaints or criticisms are 
quite valueless without proper remedies can be suggested. 

With these points in view, it perhaps would appear more 
correct to give an account of the causes of wastage before deal- 
ing with their prevention : lest I should appear to be putting 
the cart before the horse. But such causes, particularly in 
respect to diseases, are so varied and numerous, and their recital 
so much attended with statistical figures, that I have deemed it 
better to leave them to a later stage of the work. Besides, 
the policy of prevention, whenever it can be carried into effect, 
is or should be a first consideration. 

For the purpose of discussing prevention, it will be con- 
venient to group remarks under the sub -headings here 
mentioned : — 

Study of Resources and Bemounting. 

A properly organised Army Veterinary Service. 

Knowledge of Animal Management. 

Nature of work to be performed. 


Study of Resources and Remounting. 

The following round figures will convey a general idea of 
the colossal work put on our Eemount Service during the late 
war, and the magnitude of the machinery that was necessary 
for remounting operations. Being so far away from records, 
and having only a limited number of statistical figures by me, I 


have to fall back considerably op my memory, at least so far as 
the British Expeditionary Force, France, with which I was 
closely associated, is concerned : — 

The pre-war strength of our Home Army in horses was 
approximately 23,000. 

During the first twelve days of the war 166,000 horses were 

The strength in horses of the original Expeditionary Force, 
which mobilized and went to France, was 53,000. 

Between August, 1914, and the middle of 1918, roughly 
450,000 horses were bought in the United Kingdom. 

Over 700,000 animals were bought overseas in the United 
States and Canada on British account for various theatres of 
war. The United States Army itself when it mobilized required 
a large number of animals. To say nothing of what its troops 
in France possessed, it had at least 350,000 animals in training 
in Depots in view of being sent to France. 

At one period of the war in France, the British Expeditionary 
Force possessed roughly 475,000 animals, of which 89,000 were 
mules. The total wastage from death, destruction and missing 
amounted to approximately 250,000 up to the end of December, 
1919, and about 25,000 sold to agriculturists (prior to sales on 
demobilzation) . Roughly, therefore, during the four-and-a 
half years, 750,000 animals took part in the war in France, in- 
cluding British, Indian, Canadian, Australian,' New Zealand 
and Portuguese Troops. 

In August, 1914, 193,319 horses were on the strength of the 
French Army, while 799,661 were required. By November, 
1917, 1,188,539 animals had been purchased in America and 
Spain to supply wastage. 

The Belgian Government, in addition to obtaining horses 
through British Remount Depots, purchased in the Argentine. 

Our demands for Mesopotamia and to a considerable extent 
for Egypt were met from India and Australia, remount opera- 
tions from this side approximating 43,000 horses and 500 mules. 

East Africa was supplied from South Africa. 

The drain therefore of suitable animals for war purposes by 
the Allied Powers was stupendous, and it must be remembered 
that the demand chiefly related to animals of a draught type. 


In the United States, for instance, our purchases were 20 light 
draughts to one of other classes combined. The world's supply 
of suitable stock is not inexhaustible. How demands were met 
is surprising ; and rightly, our Eemount Services at Home and 
Abroad have reason .to be proud of their achievements in the 
difficult task that was put upon thfem. Shakespeare, through 
the mouth of one of his characters, enjoins on us to put no trust 
in a horse's health, and when we consider the vast number of 
animals that have been collected, purchased, moved by rail and 
sea, distributed at, reinforcements to replace casualties (readers 
please think big and in hundreds of thousands), and their much 
greater proneness to disease than any human race, the wonder 
is that wastage has not been greater, and supply over so long 
a period impossible — in other words, that absolute exhaustion of 
resoures was not reached. 

Very much less fortunate, and to her great regret as evidenced 
in Ludendorff's Memoirs, was our principal enemy, Germany. 
Her resources were exhausted ; captured documents and orders 
revealed a burning desire to capture some of the beautiful 
horses of th§ English for her Transport. She was not enriched 
by animals of ours falling into her hands, which is a glorious 
page in the history of our animals in the war. And the 
imposing sight of the grand German Army in retreat with 
mixed teams of oxen and horses was a crown to her debacle. 
The majority of German animals taken by us were evacuated 
to our Lines of Communication and were sold for sausage meat. 

Germany, though credited with over 4,000,000 horses in 
normal times, of which nearly 3,000,000 ~were in Prussia, was 
an importing country. She bought on an average 21,000 
annually from Belgium, taking, it was said, the best of the 
Ardennes horses. She was also credited with taking 16,000 
annually from Denmark, many of them for light draught work. 
Altogether her annual import returns showed a little over 
100,000. The best material was almost entirely appropriated 
to supply the demands of the military authorities, the remainder 
being doubtful for military purposes. 

Austria-Hungary was fairly well stocked with horses, but 
Hungary was essentially a light horse country, and Austria 
proper never afforded much of a field for remount operations. 


Rumania, Bulgaria and Servia were all importing countries 
from Hungary, for Army purposes. 

After the disrupture of Russia, Germany was able to arrange 
a limited number of animals from the Ukraine, but, compared 
with, other countries Russian animals are small ; Polish horses, 
for instance, are chiefly of the riding type. 

So that taking all in all, the resources of the Central Powers 
were bad. The efficiency of an Army very greatly depends on 
its horse supply, and Germany must have known, unless her 
vision was so clouded with arrogance or distorted through 
megalomania, that her feet were but clay. In a matter of 
horses she never had a dog's chance of successful issue in a 
protracted war of unusual severity, even though the Schlieifen 
policy of over-running Belgium and a portion of Northern 
France in the early days was calculated to bring a certain 
number of useful animals into her net. 

Bemounting in relation to Wastage. To know exactly where 
to go for supply, precisely the class of animal to buy, and to have 
suitable experienced purchasing officers are essential factors of 
Remounting — if wastage and inefficiency are to be avoided. 

We bought our experience very dearly during the war of 
two years and seven months in South Africa. During that 
war 518,794 horses and 150,781 mules and donkeys were 
provided. 347,007 horses and 53,339 mules and donkeys were 
expended during the campaign, and 13,144 horses and 2816 
mules and donkeys were lost on voyage. The total expenditure 
on horses, mules and donkeys, exclusive of freight, amounted to 
£15,339,142. A Court of Enquiry, appointed by order of the 
Commander-in-Chief, was held in 1902 to enquire into the 
administration and organisation of the Remount Department,, 
the purchase of animals during that war, their transport 
overseas, and the causes of the enormous losses during the 

The salient facts of the findings of the Court and its Com- 
mittees were briefly summarised as follows : — 

{a) The normal duties of the Remount Department in peace 
were confined to transactions with dealers in the United 
Kingdom. To meet additional requirements of horses 


on mobilisation and to provide for wastage of a war, 
reliance was placed in a system of registration amounting 
to 14,000 animals. 

(d) There was no system of obtaining and tabulating in 
time of peace, information as to horse supplies of foreign 
countries with a view to the contingency of a great expan- 
sion in requirements. 

(c) No steps were taken in view of the possibilities of a war 
in South Africa to ascertain what animals could be 
obtained from abroad until four months previous to the 
actual outbreak of hostilities, when officers were sent to 
certain countries to enquire as to the supply of mules. 
Consequently when the conflict came and a great number 
of animals had to be procured from various countries, 
officers despatched for that purpose, for want of previous 
information and system, were much at the mercy of 
vendors both in a matter of price and quality of animals 

{d) The Director General of Eemounts at that time could 
do little with the organisation with which he was furnished 
in time of peace. His functions were strictly limited and 
his staff even more so. It was inevitable that a Depart- 
ment with no provision for expansion, when called on 
suddenly to extend its operations to a previously uncon- 
, ceived degree, should fail through lack of system. 

<e) The evidence confirmed the view that the chief cause of 
loss of horses was that they were brought from distant 
countries, submitted to a long and deteriorating sea 
voyage, when landed were sent into the field without time 
for recuperation, and there put to hard and continuous 
work on short rations. 

if) In the early part of the war there was' great pressure for 
horses but no well-thought-out system for the establishment 
of Base and Advanced Eemount Depots in which animals 
could be held, exercised and prepared for issue. 

{g) There was also ill-provision of Veterinary Institutions 
to which sick and over-worked animals could be sent to 
recover. In the beginning, by reason of the inability to 


obtain fresh horses, those on charge of units were worked 
to the Hmit of their physical endurance, and then were left 
to die on the veldt. 
Truly a very sad state of affairs, and absolutely out of all 
keeping with the nature of a Britisher who loves his animals. 

However, the Army at home learned its lesson, and in a 
matter of Remount Intelligence, the War Office in its Remount 
Department at the commencement of the late World War was 
in full possession of the remount resources of every country, and 
had its machinery ready for operation. Looking at the question 
.purely in the light of reduced wastage and inefficiency of 
animals, and furthermore in constructive criticism towards that 
end, I am inclined to think that the organisation of Remount 
.Service at home is still susceptible of improvement. India is 
far ahead of it in that respect. If efficiency is to be maintained, 
a Remount Service should be a self-contained Corps and with a 
policy admitting of a continuity of service and experience, in the 
same manner as other branches of the Army. The personnel 
of Remount Depots pre-war was a mixture of civilians and 
Army Service Corps soldiers ; those in France, excepting the 
Indian Remount Depot, were borne on the strength of Army 
Service Corps so far as other ranks were concerned, while the 
■officers were retired officers or others specially entertained. I 
trust it will not be thought of me that I am actuated by any 
-carping spirit in making these remarks, but I am sure those 
who have had the experience of the late war will readily agree 
that for - real efficiency all Administrative Services should be 

With the great tendency in "freshly joined remounts to sick- 
ness of a communicable nature, i.e. respiratory sickness 
particularly, it is most necessary and important to exclude all 
sickness from Remount Depots. It is an impossible situation, 
for instance, to combine a Remount Depot and a Veterinary 
Hospital in war whether under purchasing arrangements, or in 
the field. It is inviting disaster, and placing a millstone round 
the neck of Remounting that will drown it. Nothing should 
be maintained in Remount Depots but animals fit to issue, or 
reasonably so. Any unfit should be rigidly excluded, and 
relegated to Veterinary Service whose function it is to handle 
-this category. Hence the Remount Service would be "Providers'' 


and "Finishers," and the Veterinary Service "Menders." This 
broad hne of pohcy--" Fit " and "Unfit" — was laid down by 
the Director of Eemounts and myself, as Director of Veterinary- 
Services, from the very beginning of the campaign in France, 
and was rigidly adhered to throughout. Obviously it was 
correct ; and its success in avoiding wastage cannot be gainsaid. 

The standard of efficiency and excellence in horses demanded 
by Units and Formations at the front was very high, appearing 
sometimes to be bordering on the ridiculous. If the article was 
not prime, back it came to Lines of Communication with 
dissertations on the subject of quality. I had great sympathy 
with Eemount Service in this matter, particularly as horses 
after a long journey by train, or a dusty or rainy road journey, 
do not as a rule look their best ; and at the instance of the 
Director of Eemounts, I arranged with my representatives with 
Formations not to report on remounts until they had been at 
least three days with their units. The particularity was also 
reflected by Eemount Depots on Veterinary Hospitals, and the 
output from the latter to Eemount Service had to be issues de 
luxe. It all sounds somewhat absurd when, as the war 
progressed, there were category "B" horses as well as men; 
but when one seriously considers it, the procedure was correct.. 
We were able by all our means to keep down the total 
inefficiency of our Force to 12 per cent, in winter, and about 7 
per cent, in summer, only 2 per cent. inefBciency existing at. 
the Front. 

Horses, too, like ourselves, have their "days." They look 
fine creatures one day and awful brutes another. And a propos 
remount purchasing, I like to relate a story of a well-known 
and experienced Eemount Agent in Calcutta, who on walking 
round the lines of his purchases one day, stopped at a loose box 
containing a sorry looking object. " What horse is this ? " 
asked he. " One you bought from Mr. So-and-so a few days 
ago," was the reply. " You don't mean to tell me that I bought, 
such a horse " was his comment. Further on in the line was a 
horse of noble presence, full of fire and indignity at rejection.. 
" By jove, there's a beautiful horse," said the Eemount Agent. 
"Yes, that is- one of Mr. So-and-so's which you rejected a few 
days ago," was the answer. 

A good many of us have been up against similar situations. 


A properly organised Army Veterinary Service, 

In an article published in the July issue of the Journal of the 
United Service Institution, I described the constitution of Army 
Veterinary Service in War, its function in relation to the 
preservation of animal health, and the procedure appertaining 
to it in its role of treatment of ineffectives and the reduction of 
wastage. It is therefore not necessary to refer to it again 
except to say that it forms practically the most important item 
in the matter now under review. 

I may further say that approval has now been accorded to 
the formation of a properly organised Army Veterinary Corps 
in India which I am sanguine will not only render an efhcient 
account of itself in the course of time, but will contribute 
greatly to its own cost by reducing loss and grading up 
efficiency of our animals in India. It is a business proposition. 

I intend also to deal later with an economic side to wastage 
of animals, so will defer further mention on this heading. 
Knowledge ol Animal Management. 

Too much stress cannot be laid on this very essential factor 
in the reduction of wastage. So important is it that I deem it 
necessary to devote a special section to the subject, and to the 
role of Army Veterinary Service as an Instructional Agency. 

It was extraordinary in France how our original Divisions 
and Cavalry never lost the art and knowledge of management 
of Army animals. This was intuitively handed down, like the 
good tone of our " Old Contemptibles " and as a part of their 
esprit de corps. In speaking of Animal Management I do not 
wish it to be inferred that I allude to Horsemanship or 
Horsemastership in the sense of the fine art of riding, driving, 
breaking in, and study of the latest creations that cover the 
nether extremities of the faculty, but rather to the hygiene of 
the animal that preserves his health and adds to his utility. 
It is all a matter of instruction and it forms a part of the 
curriculum of a soldier's training in common with other items. 
What knowledge begins, association fosters, and the end is the 
love of comrades in arms, reciprocated and enduring. 

I recall an incident — it is only one of many — of a visit to an 
" Old Contemptible" battalion after three years of war of the 


severest. On asking if the battalion had any of the original 
horses it possessed when I knew it in Ireland in 1910-13, the 
officer, with the greater pleasure and pride, brought out the 
original pair of wagon horses and the pair of machine gun cobs. 
I had hit the happy theme in one act. Such is animal manage- 
ment. Where are the Victory Medals ? 

Horse Shows. To the minds of a good many people, Horse 
Shows in war would appear to savour of frivolity in the face of 
a grave situation, but from an instructional point of view — as 
object lessons, they are to be recommended. They also afford 
pleasure and relaxation to the individual and a break from 
trying circumstances. Most Divisions in the B.E.F., France, 
had their Shows, and the prize winners took part in Corps and 
Army Shows. Perhaps too much concentration on individual 
horses or teams was displayed, and a most useful form would 
relate to whole units. The interest which they created was, 
nevertheless, all to the good of the animals. 

However, there is another side to the picture, and one which 
1 personally think is an equally good — perhaps a better object 
lesson. This is to be seen in Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of 
Communication, and is represented by the flotsam and jetsam of 
war. If it is necessary to show all and sundry what animals 
should be like by means of horse shows in war, it is all the 
more expedient that those charged with the care of animals 
should witness what they should tiot be like, and what wastage 
really means. For this reason Classes of Animal Management 
were held at Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Communication 
for young officers and non-commissioned officers, and to these I 
will refer under the heading of " Army Veterinary Service as 
an Instructional Agency." 

Watering and water discipline. There is probably nothing 
that knocks animals out so rapidly as lack of water, or water so 
" impure that animals refuse it. It is essential that water 
arrangements both for men and animals, and a proper water 
discipline, should be specially instituted. I remember an Army 
Commander in France taking me to a map in his room and 
specially drawing my attention to a portion of country over 
which a large offensive was to be made. It was the waterless 


area towards Bapaume. He remarked " You are going to have 
a bad time," and his words proved true. 

Water supply is a diiS&cult and yet a very important 
proposition where large bodies of troops are concentrated. 
Picture the concentration of 150,000 to 190,000 animals in a 
radius of a few miles, and the prospect of a successful advance 
over a country removed from water in the summer season. 
French village ponds in occupied areas were of no value. They 
were the cause of sewage poisoning in some instances. So 
particular were Corps in certain areas that the maps of 
Brigadier-Generals' Administration were marked with water 
points and even water troughs for animals. But for these 
wise provisions, in these areas our wastage would have been 
much heavier. Animals travelling by train, and especially sick 
horses under evacuation, had their own self-contained watering 
arrangements. Water parades, time schedules, and the 
presence of an officer at watering parades are part of the 
requisite care of animals in the field. It is a feature of animal 
management in India, and in frontier expeditions of that 
country, which requires putting on a better basis, and particu- 
larly with regard to the camel. The remedy lies in the special 
concentration of thought on the subject and a discountenance of 
the " Kuch purwa nahi" haphazard methods that are apt to 

Foods and. Feedings. It is said that an army fights on its 
stomach. It is quite true. There is no physical endurance 
without a liberal supply of food. Morale goes to pieces on an 
empty stomach. I am convinced that one of our best items of 
propaganda was the display of comestibles and the prices at 
which they could be obtained, in the Expeditionary Force 
Canteens in France when the Germans pushed our troops back 
in the Somme area in March 1918. It was an eye-opener to an 
enemy who had been imbued with tales that England was 
being brought to her knees through their " unrestricted, 
submarine warfare." 

What is true of men is equally true of animals, the only 
difference being that while the one can voice his complaints 
and objections, the other must suffer in dumb obedience. All 


the more reason therefore that the wants of the latter should 
receive the utmost consideration. 

No animal can perform hard work, and the severest of all 
work which war necessitates, without the most particular 
attention is paid to his food and feeding in all its details of 
quantity, quality, periods and appliances. The records of 
Debility and Exhaustion, which I will presently show, bring 
home to us most forcibly the necessity that the most profound 
care should be given to the provision of food for our animals 
and its administration to them. Though there are contributory 
and concomitant causes of Exhaustion and Debility, such as 
lack of or insufficiency of water, climatic influences, excessive 
work or undue exertion, the chief factor is insufficiency of food.. 
Starvation is an ugly word to read in reports. 

Food supply in war, and its transport, is a difficult proposition. 
The pound of meat and pound of bread or biscuit for the man 
is an easier matter than the ten or twelve pounds of grain and 
ten pounds of forage for the horse ; and these latter bulky 
amounts are opposed to successful ventures of offensive warfare. 
It is not always possible to tap the resources of a country or 
area through which troops operate. There comes a time when 
even that is exhausted, and everything has to be sent up from 
the Base or from the Lines of Communication Depots. Long 
Lines of Communication by road — such as we have experienced 
in India, in Somaliland, in the Sudan — represent a tough 
problem to the Military Authorities, much more so than in 
countries well endowed with railways. Hence it is that animals, 
may suffer by failure of supply. 

War is always costly in food supply. The pre-war cost of a 
daily horse ration in the Army was from 1/3 to 1/6. In the last 
year of the war in France it was 5/2, and at the very end, if my 
memory serves me right, it either reached or was likely to reach 
T- per ration. Substitution diets and equivalents had constantly 
to be thought of and adopted. The foresight shewn, and the 
manner in which the supply of foodstuffs to our animals was 
effected during the late World's War, was nothing short of 

I mention the above to point the necessity for economy, which 
has a great bearing on wastage of animal life— Waste not, want. 


not ! Economy is twofold. The first relating to Supply Services 
in substitution diets, and the power to issue equivalents, 
whenever circumstaces demand, as already alluded to ; the 
second relating more directly to the animal itself. The latter 
is where the Commanding Officer, the chief instrument of horse- 
mastership and animal management in the prevention of 
wastage, comes in. What avails supply if the ration does not 
reach, the animal's stomach ? Therefore it is that the commonest 
rules and routine procedure of stable management must be 
observed. No excuse whatever can or should be accepted for 
the want of provision of nose-bags, hay nets, and feeding cloths 
— the plates, as it were, of creatures who cannot make expedients 
for themselves. Wind has a habit of blowing hay out of the 
reach of animals tied to a picket line ; grain placed on the ground 
in wet weather is trodden into the mud and wasted. There is 
shocking waste of bhoosa in India. Consider the transport 
necessary to get this article to animals on service. It is an 
innutritious diet at its best, and I think the time has come 
when by a combination of" some other more nutritious 
"roughage" (e.g'. berseem, shaftal, lucerne, or other leguminous 
fodder) with bhoosa in bale, a more suitable service ration 
should be devised. I am certain it would be favourable to 
animals, and represent economy in transport. 

Time to eat is an element that has to be reckoned with on 
service. This, or rather the lack of it, was one of the reasons 
why our beautiful big heavy draught English horses, requiring 
a bulky forage ration, went to pieces in France — as I will show 
in subsequent pages. Military animals are not like dogs, that 
can bolt their food with impunity. It takes horses five minutes 
at least to eat a pound of grain and fifteen minutes to eat a 
pound of hay. Bullocks and camels must have time to rumin- 
ate : it is part of their alimentary and digestive procedure, and 
as a rule they sit down to it. 

Eorage rations can at times be supplemented by grazing, and 
advantage should always be taken where it is possible or when 
time or season permits. A certain amount of grazing was 
obtainable in the devastated areas in France. Chaf&ng of hay 
and straw was resorted to as an economical procedure. The 
forage rations of French Army horses included straw, that 


uneaten going for bedding. The policy of the British Army 
was to ensure by chaffing that straw went into the belly of the 
animal, not under it. We also used a considerable amount of 
linseed and other cakes — ^100 tons per month, and locust beans, 
both articles chiefly for the sick and debilitated animals on 
Lines of Communication. Human'beings, and to wit prisoners 
working in Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Communication, 
were quite partial to the sweet, sugary locust beans (pods.) 
whenever they were available. 

Lastly I may mention the green crops that were grown for 
animals in the vicinity of stationary units on Lines of 
Communication in France. If the war had lasted another year, 
the majority of Veterinary Hospitals would have been self- 
supporting, by intensive cultivation, in green crops^rye, vetches, 
Indian corn, etc., and roots — for more or less the whole year ; 
arrangements having been made by some Hospitals to lease up 
to as much as 100 acres for the purpose. ,, It was a good project 
to meet the ravages of wastage in war. 

Clipping and Clothing. So much controversy has centred 
round the subject of clipping in relation to wastage that I deem 
it necessary to refer to it briefly. The controversy arose out of 
the heavy losses occasioned during the Arras offensive of the 
first fortnight of April 1917, the severity of the weather from 
snow storms and cold being quite unprecedented for that time 
of the year. In view of prevention of mange — that bugbear of 
active service and scourge of winter — the policy of clipping had 
been adopted and the Veterinary Service was greatly blamed 
for its advocacy. In the storm of controversy it was lost sight 
of, or was unknown to those who rose in condemnation, that 
unfortunately a compulsory reduction of the grain ration for all 
animals had been enforced for some time previousl}', and 
continued even at the actual conflict of battle. If the hygiene 
of the body in respect to cleanliness and freedom from mange 
parasites could have been effected by strict attention to stable 
duties there would have been no necessity for clipping, but 
think of the mud of winter in Northern France, and the almost 
impossible and heartbreaking task to keep animals clean that 
are mired to the very neck! The official photographer in 


France was specially asked to portray circumstances under 
which animals laboured. 

However, so far as clipping and prevention of mange in 
relation to it is concerned, the policy adopted the following year 
was to clip early — no clipping to be done after the middle of 
November. Coats would then be grown sufficiently to afford 
warmth before the real cold weather, and the happy hunting 
grounds of mange parasites — dirty, long coats, would be laid 
waste for a certain portion of the winter. 

And it is interesting to relate that in the sub- world to which 
I have referred there were battles, and it was left to Veterinary 
Service either to keep the "ring" or destroy the battlefields. I 
do not think we adopted the role of neutrals. But there were 
combats to the death between the Lice, clad in their chitinous 
armour, and the Mange parasites, perfect in trench warfare and 
subterranean passages. One year the tribe Haematopinus (lice) 
with its more insinuating ally, Ti-ichodectes, won the day, but 
the following year the "Digger" (Sarcoptes), the expert chap, 
carried all before him, but he succumbed to Calcium sulphide 
and G-as. 

Of course, clipped animals must be clothed ; indeed in any 
case clothing is necessary in winter season, alike to keep out 
cold, wind, and wet. The string jhool, of several designs, 
cannot be beaten ; its cleansing and disinfection are matters of 
importance where disease has to be prevented. 

Acclimatisation. Acclimatisation of animals is a matter 
which in war has not received in days gone by the attention 
that it deserves, excepting perhaps in India. The experience 
during the South African War, to which I have referred, was 
an object lesson to us in this respect. We have been apt to 
look upon horses as machines and to forget compensating 
balances. No one would dream of putting Australian horses 
from a Southern zone immediately into a war on the Northern 
frontier of India, under conditions of reverse season. They 
must have a little time to get on their legs, and over little 
sicknesses incidental to changed circumstances and surroundings. 
The more lymphatic or lethargic the animal the more prone he 
is to attack from disease. 


In the purchase of heavy draught hoi'ses during the late war, 
it was found that they invariably went sick after removal from 
their accustomed habitat, and a regular system of temperature 
taking was instituted which was extended to their arrival in a 
theatre of war, and before issue to units. A policy of three 
weeks residence in a Eemount Depot in France was adopted for 
all overseas animals before issue, and accommodation to admit 
of this was arranged accordingly. The consequence was that 
extremely little respiratory sickness existed at the front. 

Bemount Training Depots and Reserve Depots. The issue of 
animals trained for the purpose required of them in war is a 
most important factor in the limitation of wastage. It is not 
sufhcient to buy them as broken animals in an open market and 
ship them straight to a theatre of war. Some organization 
must exist where they can be proved and rendered suitable. 
It would appear to me that India is well advanced in this 
necessary procedure, and the Eemount Training Depots provide 
a more than useful purpose. 

Nature of work to toe perlormeci. 
As briefly indicated in the previous paragraph, animals 
should start fit and trained for their particular job. It is up to 
the Commanding Officer of their respective units to look after 
their interests subsequently. He is their philosopher and guide. 
A very bright feature of the late war was the splendid manner 
in which Infantry looked after their horses, and it is certainly a 
matter deserving of the highest commendation and record in 
the annals of our Infantry in war. Apart from that spirit of 
faithfulness and hon camaraderie which battalions showed to 
their animals, their success was a matter of organization, and 
lay in the appointment of Battalion Transport Officer. I wish 
that Artillery, in which Arm the heaviest work and greatest 
wastage lay, could have been similarly provided. Even a 
Brigade Transport Officer of Artillery, an appointment part of 
Artillery organization, to watch the interests of horses in their 
wagon lines while Artillery Officers were forward with their 
guns, would have been much better than the " horsemasters " 
and " wagon line officers " who were appointed, and who were 
nobody's children. 


The greatest wastage in France was in the hght draught 
horses of Artillery. The work of getting ammunition up to 
gun emplacements, over shell-pitted ground and through seas 
of mud at dead of night, was of the severest possible description, 
and the situation was complicated by lack of fit remounts of 
that class to keep pace with wastage. Bad, rainy weather 
always was succeeded by an aftermath of DebiHty evacuations, 
in Artillery units particularly. The churned up mud of 
Flanders, the shell holes filled with liquid mud every few steps, 
into which animals under load dropped exhausted— probably 
to drown, was a picture that required to be seen to be realised 
to its full degree of awfulness. 

The French Army used a large number of donkeys for carry- 
ing ammunition. They were driven in lots of about twenty, 
and they picked their way across country, skirting the edges of 
the shell holes. 

The war in France was not a Cavalry one, but when Cavalry 
in force participated in Offensive, casualties — battle casualties 
chiefly — were heavy. In one offensive the casualties for a week 
amounted to 10 per cent, of strength, but there was 1000 per 
cent, of gallantry that far outweighed the loss. It is war when 
cavalry begins to move, and you may laugh at prevention. And 
when behind the movement there are the pent-up feelings of 
several months inactivity, " I reckon there's going to be some 

INote. This is supposed to be a treatise on prevention of 
wastage and inefficiency] . 

I close the chapter with reference to Transport. In France 
nothing could have exceeded the high state of efficiency of 
animals generally in Army Service Corps units of Divisional 
Trains, Reserve Parks, and Auxiliary Transport Companies. 
They certainly were not exposed to the hard lot of Artillery 
horses, but they were a real good class of well selected animals, 
and the organization of the A.S.C. in personnel left nothing 
remaining for their care. The wastage, excepting in some of 
the reserve Parks in the early days of the war, was phenomen- 
ally small, and a large number served through the whole period 
of the war and returned to England at the end of that time. 


The wastage in other wars, including some of the Expeditions 
on the Indian Frontiers, chiefly relates to Transport, and 
putting aside the dire contagious diseases which lay low so 
many of the various breeds of animals employed on Transport 
Service, it is a certain fact that defective system and inadequacy 
of personnel to supervise animals has led to wastage that can 
only be described as distressing. I shall refer to this more fully 
in the chapter dealing with the causes of wastage. 


I believe in figures and percentages. They are necessary for 
the control of wastage, and as a guide for calculating and 
adjusting replacements. A General Officer Commanding a 
Division, Corps, or Army, should always know by a simple 
statement how his inefficiency stands week by week, and if 
possible, he should be made acquainted with the inefficiency 
of other Divisions, Corps or Armies, in comparison. 

There is no point in maintaining inefficient animals at the 
Front. They should be got rid of and replaced, fighting units 
should be kept up to their fighting strength as much as possible. 
This has now been thoroughly realized in the British Army, and 
all Formations in the Field have organized Veterinary units to 
effect removal ; and conversely Bemount Service has machinery 
to effect replacement by fit animals. 

By this means not only is efficiency maintained but wastage 
is curtailed. Animals get a chance of recuperation and speedy 
cure when such is feasible or economically sound. Their vitality 
and utility are not hopelessly destroyed, and it is good business 
both for the animal , and for the State. 

Organized and systematic evacuation plays a great role in 
the prevention of wastage, and I am sanguine that, other things 
being equal, through this procedure the dark pages of utter 
waste of animal life and treasure will be closed for ever in the 
history of our Armies. Other nations have taken copy of 
methods inaugurated by our Armies in the Field, fully realizing 
the advantages which such methods carry in their train. We 
are proud of being pioneers. 


Chapter III. 

War pre-supposes that casualties relate chiefly to the effect of 
gunfire. This is not so with animals. Though, as I will 
presently show, a considerable number of actual battle casual- 
ties occurred in France, the majority of casualties were from 
other causes. It is the same in all theatres of war. Incapacity, 
the result of hard work and insufficiency of food, together with 
a long list of diseases of a communicable or specific nature, 
usually go to form the Veterinary wastage of war. 

In my recital of them I shall have to quote a few statistics. 
and some of them are sorry reading : but it is necessary to see 
the black cloud to appreciate the silver lining, and precept must 
be pointed by example, whether good or bad, if progress towards 
the goal of efficiency is to be achieved. 

I will group remarks of this chapter under the following 
headings : — 

Debility and Exhaustion : Accidental Injuries : 

Battle Casualties: Contagious and Specific Diseases : 

reserving a special chapter for diseases that by reason of the 
classes of animals employed are more or less peculiar to India. 

Debility and Exhaustion. 

The history of every campaign unfortunately teems with the 
impoverished and exhausted condition to which animals are at 
times reduced. Much of it is inseparable from the hard work, 
exposure and other issues of war, but it is a regrettable fact 
that a 'good deal of it is avoidable, and it represents an 
accompaniment of war that is discreditable, and is open on 
occasion to storms of criticism as acts of cruelty. Poverty and 
its accompanying exhaustion is the hall-mark or evidence of 
indifferent supervision and care of animals, or a bad system in 
respect to their management. It is always in inverse ratio to 
the standard of animal management attained. There is no 
getting away from this fact, and until this result is realised to 
the full, this class of wastage will always figure very largely in 


the annals of our Army. To keep it down, an educative policy 
in practical animal management is absolutely indispensable both 
in peace and war ; moreover, history points to the necessity for 
the enforcement of stern disciplinary measures when neglect is 

To go back into now ancient days, a perusal of the old Kabul 
papers is of absorbing interest, revealing dark pages in the 
history of animals that are happily past in modern times. In 
those days systems were watertight, and the right hand was in 
ignorance of what the left hand did. Transport arrangements 
were a thing apart from the rest of the Army, and the 
establishment of Veterinary Hospitals was left to the initiative 
of a limited number of British Veterinary Surgeons, who for 
extra duty performed with the Transport Department received 
the sum of Es. 75 per month as against a Ti;ansport Officer 
Es. 200 per month. 

The animals of Transport were partly Government owned, 
partly hired, and judging from the report Of the Inspecting 
Veterinary Officer, the whole system of organisation and 
conduct of affairs must have been quite unique. In his tour 
inspection Eeport he alludes to evident want of inspection, 
whereby hired animals were sent from Kohat up the line by 
hundreds with no arrangements for the supply of food, that 
being left entirely to the owners ; farther on at Thai where he 
wished to establish a Veterinary Hospital he found utter 
confusion, so much so that he could not make a proper 
inspection of the animals, which in most instances were not 
even tied up in lines. There were but few animals even in fair 
condition, and sore backs were counted by the hundred, the 
sores being smeared over with mud, cow-dung, etc. At All 
Khel he found debilitated Foot -and -Mouth -Disease -affected 
slaughter cattle being sold by public auction to the inhabitants 
of surrounding villages. At Togh where a depot for camels had 
been formed, though the officer in charge was using every 
endeavour by grazing, feeding on grain, and placing animals 
under shelter, his camels, already debilitated, were carried off 
by pulmonary and dysenteric disease to the extent of 40 per 
cent. Government and 33 per cent, hired in 58 days. He 
describes an inspection of 5754 baggage animals comprising 


mules, ponies, donkeys, camels and oxen, and found that 2326 
or 40 per cent, were physically unfit for the work required of 
them, the majority being either under four years, or too old, 
pointing to the necessity for exercise of more care in selection. 
He characterises the camel as an utter failure on two campaigns, 
but speaks well of the mule, alluding specially to his marvellous 
digestive powers. 

I am sorry to allude to that Eeport, but it shows what bad 
organisation and arrangements lead to. The records of 
subsequent frontier compaigns in India, excepting in the matter 
of contagious and specific disease, are much pleasanter reading, 
and the grading up of an organised system is gradually 
producing good results. Much, however, still remains to be 
done in matters of supervision and rational care. I quite 
disagree with the Inspecting Veterinary Officer of the Kurram 
and Kyber of 1879-80 with regard to the camel being an utter 
failure. With enlightened ideas of his management and better 
control of his diseases, both of which are now in progress, he is 
going to prove a most useful member of our Indian Transport. 
Under a system of stall-feeding he has merited great praise 
during the recent Waziristan Expedition. Why should any 
animal on service be expected to forage for itself ? Surely it is 
adding insult to injury. The basis of camel feeding in India up 
to recently was grazing, with stall feeding in lieu. The policy 
has been reversed, and thousands of camels will be saved by the 
reversion. I will have more to say on the camel later. 

In Wazaristan during the recent expedition our inefficiency 
stood at : — 

Horses and ponies per cent. 7'5 Camels ll'O 

Mules 2-6 Bullocks 2-4 

But for the unfortunate Mange which is so prevalent in 

camels in India, and another disease, by name Jhooling, the 

camel inefficiency would have been less ; but conditions are 

being gradually improved. 

Considerable loss from debility has been experienced in 
camels in Eastern Persia, and inefficiency ran at 25 per cent. 
Apart from hard work and long distances, without question a 
deficient food supply and defective management were the real 
reasons for the loss. 


Of all the sad pages in the history of camels employed by our 
Armies, nothing can sm'pass that of the Desert Column in the 
Nile Expedition of 1884-85. Between the 30th December 1884 
and 25th March 1885^ i.e., in barely three months, this column 
lost 1850 in the Bayuda Desert and 448 at Korti out of a total 
of 4050 camels, or 56-7 per cent. Though some were killed in 
action, the chief cause of mortality was forced and long- 
continued marching with insufficiency of food and water. The 
first column averaged 30 miles per day, the second column 25 
miles per day. Between Gakdal and Gubat, a journey of six 
days, the allowance of grain amounted to under two pounds per 
camel daily, and no water could be given during that period. 
Grazing was not possible. On the return journey the animals 
had to subsist on only a few loads of green dhourra stalks and 
what grass could be collected. A good many of the camels were 
only four years old, and a curious statement of the covering 
report of the Principal Veterinary Officer to the Forces, War 
Office, is to the effect that purchasing officers (Egyptians) knew 
so little of this class of animal that some of them were not able 
to distinguish the sex, to say nothing] of their age, or to judge 
fitness for the work required. A Brigade Order was published 
previous to the march that camels should only be watered every 
third day, to accustom them to the privations of the march, and 
that they should have their fill before starting. This was not 
judicious treatment, especially when it was known that the 
animals would have little else than dry food for the journey. 
Camels are not salamanders, and they require as much water 
as any other ruminant to maintain health and strength. The 
Veterinary Officer accompanying the column describes one 
instance of camels being 40 hours under load; one company 
had one man to every six or seven camels and these were 
Egyptian soldiers taken out of boats which had just come up 
the river. Truly a most lamentable state of bad organisation 
and arrangement, such as it is hoped will never see the light 
of day again. 

On the other hand, and at the same time, was the most 
wonderful performance of the 19th Hussars (155 strong) 
mounted on Syrian ponies ; an example of the most efficient 
care of animals almost on record. With an average daily 


ration of 5 to 6 lb. of grain and two gallons of water, for 
10 days they marched 31 miles daily. At the first advance 
on Matammeh they marched to the Nile without having 
received a drop of water for 55 hours, and only 1 lb. of grain. 
During their halt at Gubat from 20th January to 14th 
February, they were fed on 10 lb. dhourra stalk daily, and 
on their return journey to Korti the first 75 miles of the 
journey was performed on 4 lb. grain and three gallons of 
water. The horses were allowed to graze on every possible 
occasion on the grass of the Bayuda Desert, but it was very 
dry and they ate little. Out of the 155 animals 19 died or 
were destroyed for debility or exhaustion, five from other 
causes, and 20 were killed in action between the 8th January 
and 8th March. 

The wastage in the South African War has already been 
alluded to, and by far the greatest amount was due to Debility 
and Exhaustion, the war being very considerably one of move- 
ment and trekking. It simply swallowed up animals ; and 
replacements, being so unfit, never had much of a chance from 
the outset. North American animals, though good, were the 
victims of operations in a country of reverse seasons : Argentines 
were grass fed animals in their own countries, and missing 
their beautiful alfalfa and being unaccustomed to grain and 
to feeding out of nose-bags, quickly went to pieces : Hungarian 
horses were, and are at their best, "flatcatchers"' and also are 
grass fed in their ' own country : Eussian cobs for mounted 
infantry purposes, at least those -from the Urals, being a tough 
lot, weathered the storm : the London bus horse, full of good 
hard English keep, rendered a good account of himself : but 
the native of the country was the hardiest of all. Truly it was 
the survival of the fittest. I call to mind a reconnaissance of 
Plumer's Force, when, mounted on South African ponies, 70 
miles were covered in 26 hours and not a single animal dropped 
out, and this during the season of "Horse-sickness." Also, after 
over a year of hard campaigning, 30 per cent, of the original 
ponies of his Ehodesia Eegiment were handed back to the 
Eemount Department when the regiment was broken up. It 
is an example of the fitness of animals that are required for the 
hard usages of a war of movement. 


To chronicle in detail the wastage under this heading which 
has existed in our numerous campaigns, and the causes which 
have led up to it, in itself would fill a book. There is admittedly 
a large proportion of Debility in active warfare which nothing 
can prevent. Animals as well as ourselves have their nervous 
systems, and there are delicately constituted animals which no 
horse-master can keep in condition, and which from necessity 
find their way into the ranks of the best horsed army in the 
world. Moreover, there are times when the military situation 
absolutely prohibits the bestowal of that due amount of attention 
in watering, feeding, and general care, which is so essential to 
the well being of the animal. 

Let us now see what happened in the greatest of all wars, at 
least in the Western Theatre in France, where long forced 
marches were of rare occurrence, but where battle in all its fury, 
exposure, terrific toil, and at times reduced ration existed. 

The Somme Offensive of 1916 left us by the December of that 
year with 16,074 Debility (poor condition) animals under treat- 
ment in Veterinary Hospitals and Convalescent Horse Depots. 
[Note. Our policy, as previously explained, was early evacua- 
tion as far as the situation admitted, and Convalescent Horse 
Depots are essentially for the recuperation of animals in 
impoverished condition.] Of this number 3,386 were riding 
horses, 9,211 were light draught horses, 2,825 were heavy 
draught horses, 248 were cobs and 404 were mules. The. 
strength of the Force was then 854,217 horses and 62,914 
mules, the percentage Debility (poor condition) therefore being 
4"54 per cent, for horses and "64 for mules. The figures 
illustrate finely the wonderful resistant power of the mule, and 
he was equally good at recuperation. At the same time it is. 
evident that when the working ration is reduced, the small 
animal will continue effective when the larger animal fails. 
The light draught mule 14'3 to 15'2 received the same ration as- 
a light draught horse. The cob was conspicuous by his absence 
from Veterinary Institutions at all times. 

In 1917, during the first fortnight of February operations 
were at a standstill, and though the weather was cold the 
wastage from Debility was low, only 1,678 cases for the two- 

CAUSES Of wastage. ef 

weeks being admitted. From the 15th February to the 31st 
March the weather increased in severity, there was more move- 
ment of trbops and a corresponding increase in the cases of 
Debility, 3,639 being recorded for the last two weeks of 
February, and 9,427 for the month of March. During April 
and particularly during the first two weeks (including Easter 
week) the bitterest weather conditions prevailed. Unfortu- 
nately too, an enforced reduction of ration had for some 
time previously existed, and with 196,000 animals engaged in 
the very arduous offensive operations in front of Arras at that 
time, the toll of Debility and Exhaustion rose to an un- 
precedented degree. 20,319 were admitted during the month. 

With the advent of better weather, diminution of work, and 
an augmented ration, the admission during May and June 
dropped to 3032 and 1253 respectively. 

This represented the period of our most serious loss from 
Exhaustion and Debility. Conditions of service at the front 
and the strain to which animals were subjected were practically 
indescribable, and not the least of our enemies was the 
appalling weather which prevailed during that Easter time, as 
if the God of all Hosts rose up in rebellion against the very 
name of War perpetrated by Man. 

We found also at that time, on making post-mortem 
examinations of animals dying from debilitating and exhausting 
conditions, that Gastro-enteritis was common, a severe gastric 
ulceration sometimes existed, similar in a marked degree to 
the mouth lesions of Contagious Vesicular Stomatitis which 
appeared amongst our animals in the early days of 1917, the 
intensity of which was increased rather than diminished by the 
severe cold of the winter and spring. In one month alone we 
had 2596 cases of this disease under treatment in isolation in 
Veterinary Hospitals. Its gravity lies in its extreme con- 
tagiousness, and the loss that occurs in the condition of animals 
from their 'inability to feed. It was only through the greatest 
vigilance on the part of Veterinary Officers, with isolation of 
cases, and separate watering arrangements by means of water 
buckets and improvised small watering troughs .made from 
mens' ground sheets, that the Front could be kept clear ; and 
there is no doubt that this very ugly disease played a consider- 
able part in the wastage of the spring of 1917 from Debility. 


Age in relation to wastage. The rule of the Army used to be 
that only horses between six and twelve years were to be sent 
on service, and fifteen years and over was the age for casting. 
As the late war progressed, extending into over four years, 
animals naturally exceeded the accepted useful ages, but it is 
a point to be noted that animals of advanced years stood the 
campaign wonderfully well, and the maximum age limit of 
twelve years can certainly be expunged in favour of an open 
question. Some of the old trained horses of Cavalry have a 
remarkable record, and have stamped themselves as real tough 
warriors. Eecord was kept of the ages of all horses evacuated, 
and it was found that this ran about 11'5 per cent., gradually 
coming down in 1918 to under 10 per cent., for animals 
fifteen years and over. 

Battle Casualties. 

In campaigns previous to the late war, excepting perhaps in 
Cavalry charges, the casualties in animals from actual gunfire 
was in small ratio to other causes of wastage. I therefore pass 
them by, and come immediately to modern times, and a 
consideration entirely of the wastage in the principal theatre 
of the recent Great War. 

During the first two years of the campaign in France, battle 
casualties were extraordinarily low. This was largely attri- 
butable to the stationary nature of the warfare, and the lesser 
power of Artillery and other elements of destruction. 

"With the advent of offensive operations of the summer of 
1916, the enormous increase of Artillery, and the development 
of bombs and gas, casualties correspondingly increased, and 
loss became heavy. 

By the careful selection of horse lines and splitting up 
animals into small groups, Unit Commanders were able to 
minimise the effect of hostile fire very considerably. 

Aerial bombs were responsible for a large proportion of the 
battle casualties, and their effect was combated with a con- 
siderable measure of success by the erection of mud walls, 
five feet high, round horse lines and stables, and by anti-bomb 
traverses within stables. A bomb in its action bursts low, and 
ma;ny broken legs and abdominal injuries were saved by anti- 
bomb walls and traverses. 



The following table of killed and wounded, giving periods 
and operations, will aptly show what a struggle between Great 
Powers under modern circumstances of war really means : — 

1916 : 1st July to 31st Dec. 

Embracing the battles of 

the Somme and Ancre 
1917 : Jan. Feb. and March 

Not marked by severe fighting 
1917 : April 

Operations in front of Arras 
1917: 1st May to 27th Oct. 
' Messines and operations in 

1917-18 : 28th Oct. to 16th March 

Operations at Cambrai 
1918: 17th March to 14th July 

Period of great hostile offensive 
1918 : 15th July to 11th Nov. 

Period of great Britsh offensive 


K. W. 

Gunshot : 


K. W. 


33 352 3941 6063 10389 

771 1260 2031 

2070 2655 4625 

68 1138 10590 25258 34054 

33 4096 8869 13004 

78 451 14122 13154 27805 

26 246 22500 23251 46023 

Totals 211 2220 58090 77410 137931 

An accurate account was kept of bomb casualties as against 
gunshot, and it formed a very good guide as to German aerial 
activity and strength, and to our aerial supremacy. From 
records of casualties the zenith of German aerial power would 
appear to have been reached in August and September 1917 
when bomb casualties in animals amounted to about 400 per 
week, and though the enemy left the Front considerably alone 
and gave the back areas a dusting in May 1918, the casualties 
were week by week on the wane, and in October 1918 before 
the Armistice they only amounted to about sixteen per week. 
It was a singular fact that with the exception of one instance, 
when the crow was hit instead of the pigeon, Veterinary 
Hospitals on Lines of Communication received no damage 
from enemy bombs. 


The introduction of gas warfare was met by the provision of 
horse respirators, but such provision was more costly than the 
loss sustained. It. is more important for the men to adjust 
their own respirators than those of the horses, and by the time 
the latter is effected damage [may be done to the animals. 
Animals are more resistant to gas than men, but in any case 
the best policy is to clear out of the gas area. Eespirators are 
of course of no value against the mustard gas. Avoidance of 
pools of water (blistering of lips from drinking) and of 
traversing land on which it was noticed (blistering of heels 
and legs) were precautions taken. 

Accidental Injuries. 

Under this heading are included wounds other than gunshot. 
Kicks, contusions, fractures, sprains, rope-galls, saddle-galls, 
harness-galls, and lameness from various causes. Treated as 
a class they are very largely preventable, and their limitation 
is in direct relation to the knowledge and attention displayed 
by Unit Commanders and others to whom animals are 
entrusted. It is very satisfactory to record that during no 
period of the war in France did this class of wastage present 
any serious proportion — with the exception perhaps of the 
inefficiency resulting from " picked up nail " to which I will 
specifically allude — and I think the small amount of preventable 
injury there met with reflects very creditably on the general 
animal management of the Army. Certainly the simple 
knowledge which has been gained in our various schools and 
classes has borne good truit. 

Sore back. In days gone by, the inefficiency on campaign 
from sore backs, both in Cavalry and in Transport, was 
dreadful. With the exception of contagious disease, it formed 
the chief item of wastage and inefficiency. The history of the 
majority of frontier expeditions in India reeks of sore back 
in Transport. In the Egyptian Campaign of 1882, out of a 
total of 1982 horses, though there was comparatively little 
marching, there were 517 cases of sore back of which 21 had 
to be destroyed. In two months one British Cavalry Eegiment 
had 76 sore backs, and in another there were 89 in one month. 
Eeports of sore back in camels during the Nile Expedition of 



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1884-85 were very pitiable. There was 8 per cent, of 
inefficiency from this cause on assembly at Assouan — a very 
bad start, and the subsequent tale is one of saddles literally 
sitting into animals' backs, bones exposed, maggots, saddles 
not removed for days — a dreadful picture of wastage. 

In the Somaliland Field Force of 1903-4 the sore backs 
from the native substitute for a saddle, " Herio " (a series of 
mats) was appalling. 

Even in present times there is a considerable amount of 
sore-back in mule and pony Pack Transport and in Camel 
Corps on Field Service in India. 

Whenever there is intelligent supervision there will be a 
minimum of injury. It is the duty of Commanding Officers 
to inspect the backs of their animals daily as a routine, the 
cause of any little rub being defined. The panel of the saddle 
is the book to read, and every gall has a definite cause which, 
with the exercise of intelligence, can be remedied. But it yet 
remains for a suitable palan or camel saddle to be devised. 
The camel is living in anticipation of some fertile sympathetic 
brain producing the necessary blessing. 

Perhaps no greater factor in the reduction of saddle and 
harness galls exists than the small War Office publication 
" Animal Management." All the seats of galling are explicitly 
shown in the chapter relating to saddles and sore backs, and 
it will repay study. 

Bope-gall. I particularly mention this injury in view of 
systems of picketing animals. Invariably injury is to the hind 
heels, and it is caused by the animal getting entangled in the 
slack of the head-rope attached to picket line. The injury 
was most infrequent in France because the picket rope was 
stretched between wagons or attached to posts. In other 
words, the picket rope was breast high, the slack of the rope 
avoided, and fear of entanglement and gall minimised. There 
was no necessity for hind shackling under this method, and 
as a rule animals learn to stand quietly. 

In India, the common system of picketing, except in 
Artillery, is a ground rope to which animals are attached by 
their head ropes, and to keep them straight hind shackles are 


necessitated. The weight of transport of these shackles, and 
particularly the iron chains in the aggregate is enormous, and 
represents an addition to loads either on the animal or m 
carts which could easily be abolished. Even in peace, in 
stables in India the system of Agari-pichari continues ; it 
could stand modification with advantage. 

Lameness. The amount of lameness from sprains, bone 
diseases — such as spavin, ringbone, and arthritis, during the 
war in France and Belgium was extraordinarily small. The 
Army was maintained as sound as possible ; any unserviceable 
animals were either cast and sold to agriculturists or for food, 
or were utilised for the slower and less arduous work on Lines 
of Communication. The latter category was designated V.B. 
(Veterinary Base). 

Mules as a rule are wonderfully sound, and it is surprising 
how well they do without shoes. A Mountain Artillery 
Commander would scoff at the very idea of his mules being 
shod. Unshod they have sure foot-hold. The pack and 
draught mules of Transport Corps work unshod, with splendid 
results. Even ponies can do, at least, without hind shoes. 
But it all depends on weather. In wet weather there is 
greater maceration of horn, and so in France the draught 
mules were shod. 

On the frontier in Waziristan, from work along the stony 
river beds, camels have suffered considerably from sore feet, 
and various protective expedients have been tried. Camels 
parked on stony ground also suffer from bruises and wounds 
of the chest pad, and unless care is exercised in the selection 
of camping grounds a good deal of inefficiency and loss is 
occasioned thereby, for such cases are difficult to cure. 

Piched-up Nail. A curious form of inefficiency which bulked 
very largely in the returns of the B.E.F., France, was what 
was termed " Picked-up-nail," and all sorts of expedients, amus- 
ing and otherwise, were adopted for its prevention. Nails appear 
to have a peculiar attraction for horses feet, and the nuisance 
was not confined to nails, for an occasional live cartridge would 
be found. There was no record of any bird's nests such as 
rumour attached to the tails of certain horses purchased during 


the Zulu War. However, joking apart, from the winter of 
1915-16 the occurrence amounted to 400 per week, in spite of 
Routine Orders — which are apt to go in one ear and out at the 
other; beautiful attractive red boxes with the word "Nails" 
painted in pearly white, stuck up on the walls of villages; 
posting bills of photographs of nails with witty remarks vying 
with the attractive boxes on the walls, and "Nail Hunts" by 
units in the vicinity of the Camps, which afforded great amuse- 
ment after the manner of football. Competitions in "hunts" 
would appear to have been started in one sector of the line ; one 
unit was credited with 12 lb. of nails in one horn-, but whether 
the finals were ever played off, history does not relate. I fancy 
they were deferred by the Armistice to the next War. But the 
nail went on. His name was legion. It was the business of 
the man attending the "Cooker" marching along the road and 
using packing cases as fuel, to see that the stew was appetising. 
It was another man's job to look after the nails that dropped 
into the fire-box or on the road. The same with the builder of 
huts or stables. The seriousness of the matter lay in the large 
number of "Quittor" cases for operation in Veterinary Hospitals. 

I will close remarks under this chapter by a brief reference 

Dietetic Diseases. Apart from the loss resulting from Debil- 
ity, with reduced rations as a contributary cause, wastage from 
digestive disorders was comparatively slight in the Army in 
France. On one occasion there was serious poisoning from an 
admixture of Castor beans amongst the oats, the vessel carrying 
oats in bulk having, without doubt, previously carried castor 
beans as part cargo, and in the hurry of requirement not having 
been properly cleaned out. 

There was also occasional poisoning from feeding on certain 
Linseed cakes, from the development of prussic acid, but this 
can be, and was, avoided by boiling the cake. 

Sand Colic amongst units located on the dunes along the 
coast of Belgium was very prevalent, and expedients to prevent 
animals from eating sand had to be adopted. It was a long time 
before animals got over the effects of sand, and it was a notice- 
able factor of Debility. An alkaline sands appeals to animals, 


and particularly when appetites are depraved or sharpened by 
want. It was no uncommon sight to see animals eat sand as if 
it was a bran mash, Sand Colic and its prevention formed the 
subject of special instructions, and in the matter of expedient 
for prevention I think there was little left to the imagination. 
Space will not admit of a description of the many devices. 

Contagious and Specific Diseases. 

Of all the causes of wastage the contagious element of disease 
is by far the most serious and important. Communicable 
diseases in animals are so numerous and varied in their character 
that they demand of Veterinary Service the utmost vigilance 
and the most profound skill it can command through its officers 
in prevention, control and suppression. An exact knowledge is 
required of all contagious Diseases, and the life history of their 
causal agents scientifically put into operation the means of 
combat. It is par excellence the Veterinary Officers' War. The 
study of Contagious Disease is an absorbing and fascinating one, 
and with full knowledge of cause and effect the modus operandi 
of control becomes easy to the expert. In War the badness of 
things always asserts itself, the hand of control is by force of 
circumstances slackened, and the vast movements of men and 
animals conduce to the spread of evil elements. There are also 
new "bolshevics" of disease that spring up as specifics in our 
midst, of obscure origin, that bother us intensely at the moment 
and then disappear as mysteriously as they came. It is a funny 
World ! The World's a stage in more ways than one, and we 
are actors. When contagious disease "takes the floor" we have 
to be pretty quick actors and to know our parts. 

Glanders and Farcy. — -Enter; The old Napoleon that scourged 
Armies — killed by a Staff College graduate, Mallein, that has 
the prescient faculty of nipping operations in the bud and dia.g- 
nosing the situation before danger arises ! 

Through the agency of Mallein we now have no trouble with 
this disease. The latest method of Testing for the detection of 
Glanders in its latent form is by the injection of special Mallein 
into the lower eyelid. A reaction indicating disease is easily 
detected, no temperature taking is necessary, and animals can 
perform their work while under the test — a very important 


matter on Active Service. Our policy is to test all animals on 
admission to Veterinary Hospitals and Eemount Depots, and in 
the event of reactions to refer back to the unit to which the 
reactor belonged for test to the unit. Reactors, though showing 
no outward signs of disease, are destroyed. 

In the autumn of 191-5 the frequent reactions encountered in 
animals evacuated from the front in France indicated a certain 
menace, and it was decided to test the whole Force. This was 
done during the winter, about 300,000 animals being subjected 
to the test. The disease was cleared out, and even though we 
were again threatened on the arrival of the Portuguese Ex- 
peditionary Force in the spring of 1917, and by a few cases 
on the return of a Division from Italy, we had no more trouble. 
The total numbers of animals affected were 85 in 1917 and 36 in 
1918. Thus has an old enemy been defeated. 

Epizootic Lymphangitis. (A name as long as its period of 
incubation, but may be lovingly referred to as "Epizoo.") 

Considerable loss and inefficiency have been caused in cer- 
tain Countries and Expeditionary Forces through this serious 
affection. Its seriousness lies not in its mortality, but in its 
infectivity and its long incubation of 2^ to over 4 months. It 
was introduced into the French Army during the late war by 
their Algerian Troops, and they had many cases. Their policy 
was to treat those with a commercial value. Our policy was 
eradication by destruction — a cheap policy in the long run, and 
moreover we had to consider the very important matter of its 
exclusion from the British Islands on the return of our Force. 
It is satisfactory to record that not a single case has been 
introduced into the United Kingdom 

Though beset by it in France we escaped until 14th Septem- 
ber 1917, when our first case occurred. Altogether we had 202 
cases ; they were mostly sporadic, and only in one instance did 
it assume anything like grave proportions — in a Regiment of 
Household Cavalry in which 80 cases occurred. The Regiment 
was drawn out of the line for isolation until it was successfully 
eradicated. Its eradication was due not only to destruction of 
the affected, but to the use of a special pro forma report which 
covered enquiry as to source and action taken. 


Another similar disease, and affecting the legs of animals 
chiefly, was what we termed Ulcerative Cellulitis, ox as termed 
by the French, Ulceratvie Lymphangitis of Nocard. 

This is a mud-borne disease, and it gave both the French 
Veterinary Service and ourselves a lot of trouble. Treatment 
was by specially prepared vaccines, or by antiseptic applications : 
but the disease is most intractable, liable to burst out again, 
and hope of success lay only in the milder cases evacuated early. 
Of these we ca^lculated to cure 50 per cent, but 25 per cent, of 
apparent cures recurred. The French af&rmed that 15 per cent, 
were curable. The disease is a very ugly one ; it affected some 
of our best draught horses and necessitated a considerable 
number of destructions. 

I have previously alluded to the churned up mud of 
Flanders. Picture hygiene in a comparatiyeh' small area in 
Northern France holding say 450,000 animals for nearly four 
years, each animal excreting say 32 lb. of dung and ID gallons 
of urine daily. The soiling of the ground and liability to 
infective mud-borne diseases can be readily realised, and our 
dif&culties appreciated. The wonder is that loss was not 
heavier from this class of disease. 

Another disease which gave us great concern in France 
and also undoubtedly one of insanitation, was : — 

Specific or periodic Ophthalmia. . The ailment made its 
appearance in France in March 1917, and by the end of the 
campaign its victims ran into thousands. By February 1918 
incidence, including recurrency, ran up to Vi per cent, of 
strength, and then it somewhat abated. 

The disease is not new, in fact it is the old " Moon 
Bhndness" of the coaching days. It occurs also in dealers' 
stables, Eemount Depots, and commercial stables sporadically 
in ordinary times; but it is left to war, in which large 
numbers of animals are employed, to disclose real intensity. 

A more or less similar condition was experienced during 
the South African "War, and I think under any protracted 
war the same result will follow. 

The disease is an iritis, recurrent, and ends in blindness 
either from " Cataract " or disorganisation of the eye. It is 


not contagious in the ordinary acceptance of the term, i.e., 
directly from animal to animal, but it is microbial, and its 
menace lies in our ignorance of the life history of the causal 
agent, and in its incurability. A young officer of the E.A.V.C. 
has separated an organism from the optic nerve, and inocu- 
lations of cultures have produced the disease. Moreover, 
growth of the organism on broth emits the most pungent 
stable smell, which makes me think that investigation is on 
the right track. It is to be hoped that correct issue will 
follow investigation because, as I have previously explained, 
before a contagious or specific disease can be successfully 
tackled and suppressed, the strategy and tactics of the 
enemy in all his subtlety and insidiousness must be fully 
known. We are at a disadvantage when this is not so. 

It is an interesting fact in regard to this disease that 
animals on becoming stone blind grow fat. Perhaps it is a 
case of " what the eye never sees, the heart never grieves," 
or it may be a physiological process of the same nature as 
the fattening of ducks in a dark cellar. Certainly some of 
our best horses in France were blind, and at a Horse Show 
on Lines of Communication a pair of blind horses was 
awarded first prize as the best wagon team. Blind horses 
could be employed in certain units in forward areas, but as 
a rule they were afraid of gunfire. The sadness of it was 
that so many otherwise splendid young horses were victims. 

Bespiratory Disease and Sea Voyages. The purchase of 
Eemounts, particularly young horses, and their transportation 
by land and sea inevitably leads to outbreaks of disease of a 
respiratory nature — Strangles in the young, Catarrhal Fevers 
and Pneumonias of the Influenzal type in all. And unless the 
utmost care is taken in selection, in separation of sick, and 
in the movement only of those that are fit and well, loss 
will be heavy. Horses are delicate creatures in a matter of 
Influenza or Catarrhal Fevers. They die very readily. 

In the United States of America — a country of stock yards, 
the liability to " Stockyard fever '' which is a respiratory 
disease of an influenzal nature, is very great. Over 70 per 
cent, of animals purchased were reputed to have contracted 
Catarrhal Fever in varying degree, and though I have no 


figures to guide me, the loss, no doubt, was heavy. The 
only way to handle a situation of this kind is to get animals 
into proper hygienic reception depots as soon as possible 
after purchase, and to hold them there quietly for some 
time prior to shipment from embarkation depots, to ensure 
that they are over their sickness or free from it before 
undertaking a sea voyage. Any sickness of this nature on 
board ship is serious. 

I have had considerable experience in this particular duty 
and I know no more difficult matter. 

In France in the winter of 1914-15 sickness and loss amongst 
the class of heavy remounts was severe. The weather was 
extremely wet, covered accommodation was difficult to find, 
and depots took a considerable time to build. Fever, Catarrh 
and Pneumonia prevailed. Later on, as conditions improved 
and accommodation was ample, and after a policy of holding 
animals in Remount Depots for as near three weeks as possible 
was instituted, wastage from respiratory sickness became 
negligible. Temperatures were taken on arrival from overseas; 
and if fever was indicated, animals were immediately transferred 
to Veterinary Service. Eespiratory Diseases at the Front 
during the last two years of the war were practically nil, or at 
all events were very infrequent. The suppression of these 
maladies showed that the system of inspection and control by 
Veterinary Service in Eemount Depots was efficient, both in 
the United Kingdom and in France. 

Mange. I leave to the last our hardy annual, our bosom 
friend and self-constituted ally. There never was a War with- 
out him and never will be. He is permitted often to go about 
an Army in a familiar " Old chap " sort of style, and he even 
has the assurance to present himself at Armistice, and parti- 
cipate in celebrations of victory even though he may be downed 
in defeat. He is covered with Orders (Routine Orders) and 
bears the scars and wound stripes of many campaigns and 
conflicts. Unlike other Commanders in the Field, his best 
operations are conducted in the Winter, the dirtier the condi- 
tions the better ; and his leave season is in the Summer. The 
rise and fall of his fortunes in France can be best and most 
readily appreciated from a scrutiny of the accompanying charts. 










Vetbeinary Service, B.B.F. 
Mange 'Chart (a), (Horses and Mules combined). 
Solid line — Percentage of cases each week 

from Oct. 1916, to Sept., 1917. 
Dotted line „ „ „ Oct., 1917, to July, 1918. 

Per '"SJSiS'""* 
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In the first twelve months of the war in France Mange was 
almost entirely excluded, but as the Army increased and super- 
vision became more difficult outbreaks were more frequent. It 
will be seen from the charts that incidence went up in the 
winter to 3"8 per cent., which was the highest experienced, and 
down during the summer, with the casting of coats, to 1 per 
cent. The chart of 1918 is interesting in showing the relative 
incidence between horses and mules, the highest occurrence in 
the latter being 1"6 per cent, in winter and down to "4 per cent, 
in Summer ; thus mules were at least three times less prone to 
Mange than horses. These percentages included all cases, 
serious and slight, and all were sent down to Lines of Commu- 
nication for treatment. The amount represented in the aggre- 
gate a considerable number of animals out of action, but 
considering the difficult circumstances, and looking at incidence 
from a- percentage point of view, total inefficiency from this 
cause cannot be rated high in an animal parasitic disease, and 
in a war where so many animals are congregated together. 
Mange and Debility are usually associated, and though the 
former may be cured, the latter delays issue. Animals are out 
of action from one to two months. Our treatment was by 
immersion every few days in warm Calcium sulphide solution in 
large Dipping Baths, and proper grooming. Corps had their 
dipping baths for prevention. 

I regret to say that Mange (Sarcoptic) is very prevalent 
amongst camels in India, and on Frontier Expeditions it 
occasions considerable wastage and loss of efficiency. The 
association of Debility and Mange in intensified in this animal. 
So large is the amount in Civil districts that purchasing officers 
have experienced a difficulty in purchasing clean animals, and 
those with slight Mange have had to be accepted. The only 
course is to erect Dips at centres in Civil Districts and dip 
animals in the same manner as sheep. Qamel Dips have been 
in use during the recent Waziristan Expedition with great 
success ; and with periodical dipping, camels slightly or not too 
badly affected have been able to carry on their work. Dips are 
now being erected even in Eastern Persia. 

The total occurrence of Mange in camels employed by 
Government for the year ending 31st March, 1920, numbered 


9910 cases, so that it is most necessary that measures of control 
should be more exact. 

In the Somali Field Force of 1903-04 there were 3137 cases 
of Mange and skin disease in camels from July, 1903, to March, 
1904, out of a strength of 9466 camels and mortality was severe. 
A Mange Bath was used with great success, Perchloride of 
Mercury solution was used. 

In the Kurram Field Force, during the winter from Nov- 
ember, 1879, to March, 1880, nearly every camel employed 
suffered from Mange. It spread with great rapidity, but dis- 
appeared in the spring. 

In the Tirah Expeditionary Force of 1897-98, from 1st Oct., 
1897, to 6th April, 1898, with a force of 74,000 animals, there 
were 4819 cases of Mange, 1501 being in ponies and 1901 in 
camels. The strength in camels was 12,257 and ponies 16,046. 
There were only 617 cases in mules out of strength of 15,328 
and 409 cases in donkeys out of a strength of 13,854. Again 
we see the relative immunity of the mule and donkey as 
compared to horse kind. The records of Frontier Expeditions 
all show high incidence in Winter and little in Summer. 

Chapter IV 

In order that I may remark more particularly on certain 
grave contagious diseases prevalent in India and their bearing 
on the Army, I have deemed it necessary to group them under 
one heading. The dire diseases to which I refer are Einderpest 
and Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Cattle, Surra in Camels, and 
Anthrax in various animals. 

The history of these diseases and the dead loss sustained not 
only in the Army but in Civil Communities has been and still is 
appalling, and the machinery of control is most inadequate and 
imperfect in operation. One would have thought that with the 
mass of contagious animal disease of all kinds in India, worse 
by far than any other country that I am acquainted with, one of 
the first considerations would have been a properly constituted 

A Case of Mange — Before Treatment. 

After Treatment. 


Contagious Diseases Animals' Act to suit the necessities of the 
country, but such is not the case, and animal life continues to 
be wasted. It is not for me to criticise policy, but I am all out 
to assist in the grading up of animal efficiency and in the re- 
duction of wanton, unnecessary animal wastage and suffering. 
It is a duty that is put upon me. I am, however, now pleased 
to say that a simple Diseases of Animals' Act, India, with 
Orders in respect to the various Contagious Diseases is to be 
considered. The very fact of such an Act and Orders being in 
existence in the land of " Hukm" in itself will be productive of 
great good, and its application can easily be made adaptable to 
the circumstances and the needs of the country, generally and 
locally, and to the susceptibilities and customs of the inhabi- 

It is quite certain that no Commander in the Field using 
Bullock Transport — Government or Hired — can get very far 
without being faced with outbreaks of Rinderpest and Foot-and- 
Mouth Disease in these animals. It is our experience on all 
Frontier Expeditions, examples of which I will presently give. 
The bullock is much more suited to the quiet life of cantonment 
work in peace, where he can rest from his easy labour under a 
tree in the heat of the day, and combine rumination with nice 
thoughts of his Valhalla, than to the hardships of a campaign 
which, unless care is exercised as to his locale of duty, would 
be a perfect hell to him. Southern bullocks, e.g., the Mysore 
breeds, and Sindhi, coming to Northern climes, are much more 
susceptible to Einderpest and Foot-and-Mouth Disease, and 
they are attacked in more virulent form. 

In slaughter cattle, goats, and sheep, it is also quite impossible 
to avoid outbreaks of these two diseases unless there is a better 
system of organised Veterinary control of inspection, purchase 
and movement, and even then the situation is difficult. Judging 
from losses from disease and from exhaustion and inanition 
entailed by marching meat on hoof, it would be more economi- 
cal in the long run to adopt a cold storage policy. And in 
connection with the supply of meat on hoof I may relate a 
circumstance that occurred in France. Most of the sheep for 
consumption by Indian Troops were purchased in Algeria, were 
landed in Marseilles and held in various Communes in Vacluse 


and Bouche du Ehone before being sent by train to the troops 
in the North of France. Sheep Pox (French Clavelee) is enzootic 
in Algeria, and French law necessitates clavelisation or inocu- 
lation against the disease on importation, The hand of control 
as I have previously explained is apt to be relaxed during war, 
some loophole exists (e.g. introduction of Babies into England 
in 1918) and disease escapes. Sheep pox broke out amongst 
the sheep held in Vacluse for Indian Troops, and Officers 
E.A.V.C. in conjunction with French Communal Veterinary 
Officers were called in to clavelise the whole of the herd of 
10,000 sheep. I mention this as an instance of the danger of 
moving slaughter stock on hoof, and I must say that, in the 
face of such danger, the French Ministry of Agriculture were 
extraordinarily good in raising no objection to the procedure, 
and in its kind consideration of our Indian Troops. 

Binderpest. India is the home of rinderpest. The country 
is full of this disease, and thousands of cattle are lost annually 
from it. It was introduced into England in 1863, and cost 
that country millions of pounds. It also spread through the 
whole of Africa from North to South some twenty-five years 
ago, and occasioned very heavy mortality. Though the virus 
or organism is so small that it is ultra-visible to the highest 
power of a microscope, and can pass through the closest 
grained porcelain filter, still we know that it perishes outside 
the animal's body in from forty-eight hours to four daySj and 
this factor greatly assists us in control. Moreover, a serum 
confers an immunity to cover the purposes of an outbreak 
and a further dual inoculation with such serum and virulent 
blood will confer a permanent immunity. So that I am 
sanguine by the latter method we can render all animals in 
military employ durably immune, and reduce our trouble and 
loss. This is now in operation in the Army. It cannot be 
carried into practice in Civil Districts, as it is really conferring 
the disease, though in mild form. 

Foot-and-Mouth Disease. The disease is very common in 
cattle all over the World, and constantly crops up in India. It 
is extremely contagious and unfortunately one attack confers 
immunity only for about five months. No one has yet 



demonstrated the causal organism; it also is ultra-visible, but 
it is fragile to ordinary methods of disinfection. There are no 
means of inoculation against the disease. 

Examples of Einderpest and Foot-and-Mouth Disease on 
Active Service :— 


Chitral Eelief Force, 
1st April to 31st Aug. 

Tirah Expedition Oct. 
Ist, 1897 to April 6th, 

Tibet Mission, 1904. 

N.W.F. F., 1919. 
From May 1919 to 
September 1919. 


1803 cases, 1297 deaths 
and destructions out of 
6363 animals. Was also 
amongst country cattle. 

982 cases. 524 deaths, 43 
destructions out of ] 3727 

Very prevalent. 

Approximately 400 cases. 
Average strength of 
bullocks, 3676. A con- 
siderable number of 
deaths amongst slaughter 

Foot-&-Mouth Disease. 

3675 cases, 151 deaths) 
95 destructions. Average 
time under treatment 10 
to 14 days. 

1378 cases. 45 deaths, 
3 destructions, out of 
13727 animals. 

Great number of cases. 

778 cases. Average 
strength in bullocks, 

Waziristan, 1919-20. 
From June 1919 to 
May 1920. 

650 cases. 430 deaths. 
Average strength, 9700 

2430 cases in two out- 
breaks, one in June 1919 
and the other in Feby. 
1920. Average strength 
in bullocks, 9700. 

Out of 3000 yaks (3 Corps) only 70 remained ; the rest had died from 
Anthrax (385 cases) Einderpest, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, Pleuro- 
pneumonia Contagiosa, Debility, from too low altitudes, and " Missing." 

Anthrax. Grass Farms and clean supply of forage have 
tolled the knell of Anthrax in India. Outbreaks in the Army 
are now very infrequent. We have had during the past year 
a few isolated cases amongst camels in the North West 
Frontier. In comparison with this the record of the Kuram 
Force of 1879-80 is of great interest. During the months of 
July, August and September, 1880, 1400 camels died from this 
disease at Kuram and Shalozan, 217 on the road between 
Kuram and Thai, and 61 at Thai. 

The Yaks of the Tibet Mission lost 385 from the disease 


The seriousness of the disease, apart from mortahty, is that 
the land on which animals have died and blood has been spilt, 
remains infective for many years, and if grazed on, say after 
rain, a recrudescence of the disease is apt to occur. 

Surra. (The word signifies " rotten " in the vernacular). 

Until within recent years we had no records of the incidence 
of, and mortality from this disease in the Army; and Civil 
reports and returns throw absolutely no light on the subject. 
In Frontier Expeditions a large number of camels were hired 
and were replaced by contractors if they died, and the closing 
of their account by compensation was of much more importance 
to the owners than any fine definition of the maladies by which 
they were spirited away. I should say that a good deal of the 
Debility and Exhaustion of camels in former days was really 
Surra, and in all probability this disease is at the root of a 
considerable amount of the Debility (poor condition), pneu- 
monia, skin and other diseases encountered in these animals 
at the present day. The causal agent, a protozoon living in 
the blood and destroying it, was only discovered in 1880 (by 
an English Army Veterinary Surgeon, who was the first man 
to demonstrate Trypanosomes) and the disease in essence is a 
pernicious anaemia — a wasting away, and death. Affected 
equines die in from one to two months; camels, in which it 
is usually chronic, may live to three years and over. The 
factors concerned in the spread of the disease are diseased 
animals, constituting reservoirs of the infective agent, blood- 
sucking or biting flies as inoculators, and susceptible animals, 
into which the inoculators ' transfer the infective agent 
mechanically. It is a very simple process so far as we know,, 
and these factors very materially guide us in control of the 
disease. The disease so far as our present researches go is 
incurable— at least in the practical domain of treatment. So 
serious has the Surra situation become in recent years that 
a Standing Surra Committee has been appointed at the 
instance of and under the direct guidance of the Civil and 
Military Administrations, and their efforts bid more than fair 
to achieve very happy results, which will not only preserve the 
camel — which is the principal animal concerned, from deci- 


mation, but incidentally will save a large amount of loss to 
the State. Personally, I am very sanguine as to the successful 
issue of measures vs^hich have been instituted, and under them 
I am very optimistic as to the future of the camel of India. 
If there is co-operation between the Civil and Military 
Authorities In the closing of the fountains of the disease as 
circumstances of disease dictate, if ways and means of 
destruction or avoidance of the prime factor or inoculator can 
be adopted, and better care be taken of the susceptible creature, 
there can be no fear of any other issue than success. 

For generations the camel has been shrouded in mystery — 
a mystery " Ship of the Desert," and his management 
surrounded with the grossest ignorance and empiricism which 
in certain localities still does not rise beyond the level of 
smelling or tasting his urine when he is sick, and covering his 
sores with filthy dung. Poor creature of Dirt, no other wonder 
he is "rotten"! Yet he is a domesticated animal required 
for work, and as such he must be treated if he is to take a 
permanent place as an Army animal for the hard work of 
Frontier warfare. And it is the duty of enlightened people to 
remove him fom a lot that threatens his very existence. It 
grieves me very much to quote statistics of wastage from 
Surra during the past few years, but they will serve to show 
the urgent necessity for action on the one hand, and the 
remarkable result of altered policy in respect to the manage- 
ment and feeding of camels on the other. 

In the year 1917-18 (ending 31st March) there were 9262 
cases of Surra amongst animals in Military employ, of which 
4181 died or were destroyed; 89 were horses and ponies, 26 
were mules, 2 were buffaloes, and the rest camels. The total 
number of camels employed was 16,189. ' 

In the year ending 31st March 1919 there were 2106 cases 
of Surra admitted, 2143 deaths and destructions, including a 
few remaining from the previous year, of which 44 were horses 
and ponies, 13 mules, and the remainder camels. The total 
strength of camels was 18,743. 

In last year, ending 31st March 1920, there were 984 
admissions for Surra, of which 971 were camels, with 550 
deaths and destructions, of which 537 were camels. 29,097 


camels were employed. Practically during the whole of last 
year the camels were on Active Service; they were stall-fed, 
and ' treated like other Service animals. They were not 
exposed to biting flies in grazing rukhs, and excepting a few 
that were transferred to a Surra Corps, which worked in 
isolation a long distance from other Corps, diagnosed cases of 
Surra were destroyed. It is a remarkable drop in mortality, 
and it speaks volumes for stall-feeding of camels and attention 
to stable management, and with the general policy pursued 
this year it is hoped that losses may be still further reduced. 

During the fly or Surra season, camel units are charged with 
the duty of collecting biting flies (Tabanidm), their larvae and 
egg-clusters, from shrubs and blades of grass in the vicinity of 
their animals' drinking water. But what can be practised in 
Government Camel Corps is difficult to carry out in Silladar 
and Grantee camels when not embodied for military service, 
and therein lies the difficulty. However, by a combination of 
Civil and Military effort difficulties are not insurmountable, and 
if Surra is scheduled under an Act and Order there is reason to 
suppose that it will be successfully collared. 


Army Veterinary Service 
as an Instructional Agency. 

Chapter I.— GENEEAL. 

In the late War, when officers and men were rapidly got 
together to serve their Country, the lack of knowledge of 
animals displayed was remarkable. It was really not surprising 
when one considered that the majority of men were drawn 
from business and trade pursuits in which horses formed no 
part. Take, for instance, a Division, the Infantry of which 
consisted of seamen, and the Artillery composed of men drawn 
for the most part from mines. One can hardly imagine a 
more unfavourable combination of elements for the care and 
management of animals, and one can picture the disadvantage 
tmder which such a Formation laboured at the outset, and 
the results which followed in the train of inexperience and 
want of knowledge. Yet long before the end of the time 
there were no proverbial flies on that Division in the general 
management of its animals. 

It is only one example of many, and it goes to show that in 
matters of animal management, instruction is just as necessary 
as in other military duties if a high or satisfactory standard of 
efficiency is to be maintained, and dead loss avoided. In the 
section which I have written entitled " Wastage of Animals in 
War " there is abundant evidence of wastage that could have 
been avoided with more perfect knowledge of animals, their 
temperament, their capacity for work and the general factors 
which go towards the preservation of their health. 


The avoidance of wastage is one of the business propositions 
of the Army, and a knowledge of business has under all 
circumstances to be acquired. 

In the Kegular Divisions and Cavalry of our pre-war Army, 
the knowledge and art of Animal Management was of a high 
order. It had been duly taught as a part of a routine system 
in units and at schools. The fine touch was never lost during 
the war, and the leaven that leaventh the lump remained to 
continue the process. 

Looking at the question, however, from the individual point 
of view, it is necessary that arrangeraents should exist both in 
peace and war whereby both Officers, and Non-commissioned 
Officers can conveniently have the principles of Animal 
Management, and the physiological laws which govern health 
and avoid sickness, taught and explained to thena both by 
precept and by example. 

It is all a matter of hygiene, and rightly it should come 
under that heading, for there is the Hygiene of the body in 
its various aspects of form and function as well as the Hygiene 
of the stable. 

Precept is founded on a knowledge of Veterinary Anatomy 
and Physiology, therefore it is that Veterinary Service is 
charged with the duty of instruction with regard to the 
preservation of health of animals, and advice respecting the 
prevention of disease and inefiiciency in its various forms. 
This does not affect the responsibility of Unit Commanders 
towards their animals : but it is the combination of responsi-, 
bility and the assistance derived from expert sources that 
makes for health and efficiency. 

I am of opinion that Animal Management or Animal 
Hygiene (I dislike that the term Horse-mastership should 
come within the purview of Military Training of the General 
Staff Branch of the Army) and the curricula of Instructional 
Schools and Classes should be included in their training 
arrangements. The inclusion adds very little to General Staff 
duties, and the interest would be an incentive towards efficiency. 
Administrative arrangements would not of course be interfered 


During the war in France, with the constant influx of new 
officers and men as reinforcements in replacement of casualties, 
it was soon found that the new material required tuition in 
respect to the care and management of horses. In addition to 
instruction which was imparted by classes within their 
Formations as best possible — a difficult and not altogether a 
convenient or satisfactory proceeding — classes of instruction 
were held at the large Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of 
Communication, where examples of wastage existed in 
abundance, and lessons of mismanagement could be fitly 
illustrated. The Classes were only of ten days' duration each, 
and the A. B.C. of Animal Management only was attempted, 
as it was deemed expedient to train as many Officers and 
Non-commissioned Officers as possible in the shortest possible 
time. Up to May 1918, 850 young Officers and 4500 Non- 
commissioned Officers were trained. The Classes were 
limited to young Officers and Non-commissioned Officers, the 
older and more experienced being debarred, General Head- 
quarters arranged for the extension of the Officers' and Non- 
commissioned Officers Messes to meet the situation, and the 
break from the conditions at the Front was as much appreciated 
as the utility of the Classes. 

The majority of the pupils clamoured for an extended course, 
as they said they could not grasp everything in ten days, and 
that just when they got interested in the subject they were 
required to return to their units. A proposal was then put 
forward for a three weeks course and fixed " Schools of Animal 
Management " with whole-time Instructional Staffs, but the 
man-power situation would not admit of it, and the original 
system had to continue until the termination of the campaign. 
However, it is very interesting to relate that after the Armistice 
the classes were re-constructed into Classes of Agriculture and 
Animal Husbandry, under the direction of the General Staff, 
as part of their big Education Scheme, and they became very 
popular for officers and men who desired to take up farming. 
The desire on the part of men for instruction was so keen on 
the conclusion of hostilities that in another direction — in Meat 
Inspection — Veterinary Service was asked if it could arrange 
classes, and for one class there were about five hundred 


applications. I mention these incidents to show the value 
which of&cers and men themselves attached to instruction, the 
after-Armistice classes being entirely voluntary. 

Let us see now how it can be applied as a practical proposi- 
tion in the Army, and for easy discussion I shall arrange 
remarks under three headings, such remarks being held to 
relate specially to India : — 

Instruction during Peace. 

Instruction during War. 

Instruction in view op men taking their 


Chapter II. 

In India there are two properly constitutfed Army Veterinary 
Schools, one in the South, at Poona, and the other in the North 
at Ambala. Each is affiliated to a large Station Veterinary 
Hospital, and has therefore every facility for teaching and 
demonstration. The Principals of the Schools are specially 
selected by reason of their ability to teach, their experience of 
India, and their knowledge of Hindustani. Classes used to be 
of six weeks and two months duration, but to permit of more 
pupils being instructed, the period has been reduced to three 
weeks. The schedule of instruction is entirely directed towards 
Animal Management and the prevention of inefficiency, with a 
little instruction in methods of fiirst aid. Dissertations on 
particular diseases and treatment of a more advanced degree, 
which in days gone by used to form a considerable portion of 
the curriculum, have been curtailed. War has shown that in- 
effectives are best handed over to a Special Service for treat- 
ment, and that the role of units is one of minimising inefficiency 
by knowledge and expedient rather than treatment of ineffect- 
ives, for which they have no time on active service, even if 
the procedure was correct. 

Thus the aim and object of these classes is prevention of 
disease, wastage, and inefficiency ; and to effect this more surely 


and perfectly, the young Officers and Non - Commissioned 
Officers — the more responsible personnel of units as it were, 
are selected for instruction, so that on return to their units 
they may intelligently apply the principles which they have 
learned, and in turn instruct those under them. There are 
separate classes for British Officers, Indian Officers, British 
Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers, and Indian 
Warrant Officers and Non-Commissioned Officers, and no 
branch of the Service is missed out. 

Another item of advantage in these classes would be for the 
teacher to take his class on occasion to the several units in the 
station, and with the permission and assistance of Unit 
Commanders to see how horses are teamed up, how harness 
and saddlery is fitted and kept, and how loads are adjusted. 
The more varied the experience, the better is initiative 
suggested. It was wonderful during the late war what useful 
expedients for the comfort and well-being of animals were 
adopted by personnel of units, all the outcome of experience, 
teaching, and intelligent interest taken. 

A very important role therefore is played by our Army 
Veterinary Schools, and the training on essential lines should 
be carefully watched, anything unnecessary or redundant being 

Army Veterinary Schools are also for the training of Army 
Veterinary Corps personnel specially in attendance on sick, 
dressing wounds, etc. 

In our Equitation Schools a syllabus of Animal Management 
can always be included in the general curriculum, and if there 
is not a Veterinary Instructor, an Officer of the Veterinary 
Service can always be detailed from the station to carry out the 
duty. The establishment of the Cavalry School at Sangor 
includes a Veterinary Instructor, who is specially selected. In 
addition to matters of 'Animal Management, animal conforma- 
tion and mechanism in relation to training of horses is a con- 
siderable item of importance now in all Cavalry Schools. I 
need not add that it entails a knowledge of anatomy. 

Furthermore, it is always up to the Administrative Veterinary 
Officers of Divisions to arrange lectures and demonstrations 
within the Division as may be desired or as circumstances 


present themselves. For instance, on the occasion of inspection 
of units very often a few useful hints or lessons may be imparted, 
particularly perhaps with regard to dieting in relation to season 
or work, care of feet and shoeing, and any other matter which 
the inspection suggests. In point of fact, the value of a 
Veterinary inspection of a unit is not altogether one of report 
on efl&ciency or otherwise to a superior officer, but it is the 
watching of any item that can be improved or remedied, con- 
ducing thereby to the health and efficiency of the animals 
concerned. I call to mind the many pleasant days and hours 
spent with Commanding Officers in the old times of my 
inspecting career in India, when we used to have a regular sort 
of indaba on animals ; getting rid of the effete, and discussing 
ways and means of bettering a situation; arrangements 
probably having been made specially some time before. The 
principle of assistance and advisory counsel can always be made 
to fall in with the formality of inspection, and in its varied 
aspects it fits the Administrative Officer of Veterinary Service 
almost more perfectly than any other Administrative Service 
or Department. It is, at all events, an item of instructional 
agency on which great store can be laid. 

Chapter III. 

The difficulty of this is very readily apparent. First, mobil- 
isation upsets all teaching in schools, as all ranks are required 
to take their places in their units, and a good many of our units 
in India, particularly perhaps in transport units, are not too 
well endowed with the necessary responsible personnel for 
supervision and care of animals in the. manifold duties in the 
Field. Schools, too, for the same reason are apt to close down. 

However, so far as Army Veterinary Schools are concerned, 
as these institutions are contiguous to Army Veterinary Corps 
Depots, which will certainly be required to function in war as 
well as in peace, it would be quite simple from a working point 
of view to continue the Schools — in fact they will be required 


to function during war for the training of A.V.C. personnel of 
the Depots. So that it would be quite feasible at the same 
time to undertake instruction in Animal Management for 
Officers and other Eank reinforcements of units as may be 
desired, even if courses of only ten days were all that could 
be afforded. It would be a more suitable and convenient pro- 
ceeding than collecting Officers and other Ranks in the Field 
at selected centres. During the late Expeditions on the 
Frontier the latter was adopted by General Officers Command- 
ing Divisions, Cavaky Brigades and Divisional Areas whenever 
possible and when other duties did not interfere ; but when 
establishments are short it is not altogether a practical proposi- 
tion. However, a few ten days' classes in the Field were 
arranged, Mobile Veterinary Sections, Field Veterinary 
Hospitals, and Transport units were used as demonstration 
units, the A.D.V. S. and A.D.S. and T. of Formations gave 
lectures and demonstrations on a simple syllabus published in 
Army Routine Orders. 

In any case, one has to be guided by opportunity and neces- 
sity while on Field Service. The situation can always be 
watched, and action taken accordingly. Ways and means may 
suitably present themselves, and so far as the Front is concerned 
we may leave it at that. 

Chaptee IV. 


The Army has accepted the view that its responsibility to the 
soldier is not altogether confined to his training and use as a 
fighting man. The Great War has shown that it has another 
and greater responsibility — that the best years of the soldier's 
life should not be idly wasted, as it were, but that in view of his 
return to civil life he should be prepared for some trade or call- 
ing which will render him economically efficient and a good 
citizen of his country. A policy of General Educational Train- 
ing has therefore been introduced into the Army, and without 


question, it is not only a step in the right direction, but it has 
come to stay, and it will bear good healthy fruit. 

I know of no better direction in which this policy can be 
considered in India, nor where greater necessity for instruction 
and enlightenment exists, than in Agriculture and Animal 
Husbandry. I have grouped the two together, as obviously they 
are co-related, and I have used the term Animal Husbandry 
advisedly, as it covers everything that appertains to the breed- 
ing, raising and care of stock. 

The majority of our Indian soldiers are drawn from the 
.Zemindar class. If, therefore, we can by some simple process 
give them the benefit of our experience and of progressive 
ideas with regard to agriculture and the management of stock, 
we are not only enriching the individual, but helping the 
-country to an incalculable degree. I should like to speak with 
no uncertain tone in this matter, and as one who is brought 
face to face with the necessity that something should be done 
to improve the lot, and reduce the suffering and loss of animals 
in India. In the section " Wastage of Animals in War " I 
•showed, as briefly as I could, the serious amount of loss 
resulting in the Army from dire contagious anirhal diseases. 
This is nothing to what occurs in Civil Communities in India, 
upon which the Army is dependent for its Transport and 
Food supply. 

In the Civil Veterinary Statistical Eeturns for year 1917-18, 
-3175 Equines, 249,010 Bovines and 22,375 other animals are 
shown as having died from Contagious Disease alone. In the 
year 1918-19, 933 Equines, 228,414 Bovines and 12,858 others 
are similarly shown, and Eeports at the same time make it 
quite certain that owing to the weakness of the cadre of the 
Civil Veterinary Department, and the inadequacy of the 
machinery necessary for complete control, full mortality is 
not recorded. 

Anyone who visits the Imperial City of Delhi and sees the 
miserable tonga and gharry ponies, requiring the lakri and 
chabuk to accelerate their movements, cannot but be struck at 
the backwardness of the country in respect to its animals. 
India has made very rapid strides in Agriculture during the 
past ten years, but the Animal Husbandry side of Agriculture 


has not kept pace with the growth of crops. Newspapers teem 
with reports and hterature regarding wheat and cotton, but not 
a single word ever appears about stock. In my opinion it is 
really a very sad situation, and the danger of it is that there 
may come a day when the country wakes up to the fact that 
through heavy mortality, and perhaps indifference to true 
interest, there is a grave shortage of animals necessary for the 
life of the country. 

The Army through its Educational policy can be made a 
very powerful factor for good in the situation described. By 
a combination of Civil Veterinary and Agricultural Depart- 
ments and the Veterinary Service of the Army, it ought not 
to be difficult to draw out some plan of campaign whereby men, 
before taking their discharge and returning to civil life, in rural 
districts, coald receive a little up-to-date instruction in animal 
husbandry, dairying, farm economies, etc. The awakening of 
an intelligent interest is most desirable in the first instance. 
Progress will follow in its train. The General Staff of the 
Army in India has already the matter in hand, as will be seen 
from extracts of a Circular letter to all Commands, dated 31st 
March ] 920, which I now quote : — 

" The Army for the purpose of Education cannot be regarded 
as a watertight compartment, and the Government of India has 
invited the co-operation of Local Governments and Admini- 
strations with local military authorities in furthering the 
development of educational training ; Officers Commanding 
should therefore have no hesitation in seeking the advice and 
assistance of members of Civil and Educational Services ; such 
advice and assistance will be of the greatest value, and of a 
nature unobtainable from any other source." 

" The proposals under consideration contemplate therefore 
the provision of facilities, either within or without units,, for 
instruction in rural economy, i.e., general agriculture, horti- 
-culture, dairying, animal husbandry. Veterinary Science, farm 
economics — including forms of co-operation as applied to 
agriculture — agricultural engineering, elementary mensuration 
and land surveying, land tenures, etc., and where desired, for 
instruction in cottage and village industries." 


It is to be hoped in the interest of stock that such measures 
can be introduced soon. The Army with its Veterinary Service 
on a self-contained basis, complete with its own trained 
personnel, and with its Veterinary Hospitals properly organised 
and conducted, will have every facility for carrying out its 
desired programme in conjunction with the Civil Authorities. 

Chaptbe V. 


Almost from time immemorial, the advisory council in 
respect to shoeing of animals of the Army, the supervision of 
training of Farriers and Shoeing-smiths, and questions regard- 
ing the fixing of the various patterns of shoes, have been vested 
in and referred to the Veterinary Service of the Army. 
Eegimental Veterinary subordinate assistance has from distant 
ages been carried out by the Farriery Establishment. The 
great majority of lameness is referable to the foot, and often 
the remedy is special shoeing. The interests of the Farriery 
Establishments of units and all that appertains to their duties 
have been carefully watched and assisted by Army Veterinary 

Training is essentially regimental, and so far as British units 
are concerned this system was very pointedly ordered by Army 
Council Instruction about two years ago. Schools of Farriery 
which were organised during the war being closed down. A 
regimental system of training may be quite satisfactory in 
peace time, but it falls to the ground in war, and recourse must 
then be taken to teaching in Schools or Depots. A different 
system in peace and war is not judicious, and a change at a 
critical time is hardly good business. Personally I am of 
opinion that all training of shoeing-smiths should be conducted 
in properly organised Schools of Farriery. It would suit Indian 
requirements much better than a watertight regimental system 
which is difficult in the case of small units and in those of 
Administrative Services and Departments. Moreover, by 


means of Schools requirements for war, including expansions 
for war, would be more satisfactorily met. Great difficulty 
was experienced during the late Frontier Expeditions in 
obtaining shoeing-smiths, not only for new units raised but 
for replacement of casualties. Divisional Schools of Farriery 
have been organised to meet more particularly the needs of 
small units other than British mounted units, in which the 
regimental system continues. They are however only tentative 
arrangements, and are pending the consideration, at some 
future date, of the formation of more complete self-contained 
Command Schools of Farriery. I am also inclined to think 
that advantage and economy might accrue from the creation of 
a Corps of Farriers, or a Farriers' Branch of a general Corps of 
Artificers, the personnel to be attached to units as required, 
and with arrangements to meet expansion for war by means 
of reserves. There are lots of good practical men who are not 
only capable of instructing, but knowing the requirements of 
the Army perfectly, are capable of administration. A body 
of men like our well-proved Army Farriers usually with long 
service to their credit, is well worthy of consideration and 
advancement, and I can vouch for the output of their labours 
being of an efficient and economic order. 


The Merits and Demerits of the 
various Breeds of Animals used in War. 

Chaptbb I— GENEEAL. ^ 

Wastage of animals in war, and experience gained with 
animals during the conduct of campaigns, very naturally and 
appropriately leads to questions of the comparative value of 
the different breeds and classes for military service. Military 
efficiency is aided by enquiry and report, and production on 
the right lines for military requirements is stimulated. 

So unusual were the transactions and expenditure in animals 
during the late war, and so profound were the lessons in 
endurance, utility, and suitability for particular purposes to 
be derived, that the Army Council, on the conclusion of 
hostilities, called for a special Eeport from the British Expedi- 
tionary Force, France, for the information of the Ministry of 
Agriculture, as to the merits or otherwise of the various classes 
of horses that had been employed by that Force, and particu- 
larly with regard to the heavy breeds of horses. The Field 
Marshall Commanding-in-Chief, whose knowledge of animals 
leaves little to be desired, and whose constant solicitude for 
their care and well-being during the war was so marked, 
expressly commanded that a report should be furnished, and 
the present article, in so far as it relates to common interest, 
embodies a certain amount of the information then supplied. 

Added to this, it is proposed to discuss the merits and 
demerits of animals employed by the Army in India in its 
Frontier warfare. 


In a previous section, I endeavoured to show that wastage of 
animals in war — at least the preventable item of it, was 
governed or influenced by certain factors which may be 
summarised as follows : — 

Eemounting, and ability to place animals in spheres of 

service best adapted to them. 
A knowledge of animal management with particular 

reference to food and feeding, water and watering, and 

bodily hygiene. 

Nature of work to be performed, and fitness for the same. 
Contagious and Specific Disease. 

The same factors come into operation when the merits or 
demerits of animals in war are reviewed. The greatest of all 
factors is perhaps the mind of man ; for the merits and demerits 
of animals, inherent or otherwise, are ultimately bound up in 
the ability and thoughtfulness of individuals who are consti- 
tuted their masters, philosophers, and guides. 

Wastage, expressed in actual figures, is not always a true 
criterion of animal efficiency, but from our experience generally 
it is possible to formulate a reasonably good idea of the utility 
or otherwise of the various classes which have been drawn 
from different countries and localities to participate in war. 

Speaking generally, the close of the Great War presents to 
our minds exactly the same opinion that was expressed during 
and at the end of the Boer War — that the small animal, of 
whatever class or type, is the best adapted for war. The reason 
is obvious. The bigger and taller the animal, the greater the 
ration required ; the greater and bulkier the ration, the longer 
the time required to consume it. Difficulties of supply, 
amounting at times to shortage, and curtailment of the time 
necessary for consumption, are inevitable circumstances of 
war, and especially during particular offensive periods. Debility 
(poor condition) becomes the chief item of Wastage, and this 
■condition may be spelt with four letters, viz., FOOD. The 
tall, big, leggy animals of any class, as a rule, form the majority 
of Debility cases. It was a noteworthy feature in France that 
the small pack animal or cob used for various purposes was 


conspicuous by his absence from Veterinary Hospitals. The 
wastage in Light Draught Mules as compared to Light 
Draught Horses on an equal ration was infinitely less, in fact 
the small amount of Debility (poor condition) in mules was 

Size therefore plays a very important role in the general 
utility and success of the Army animal where so much depends 
on ration, and for the various arms of military service the 
following maximum heights are recommended : — 


1. Officers' chargers : — 

General Officers 16'0 

Cavalry chargers i 

E.H.A. chargers [ 15-3 

E.F.A. chargers) 

Infantry chargers i 

Other Services I 14-2 

chargersi to 15'1 

according to class of pony, 

cob, or small well-bred horse. 

2. Cavalry Troop Horses 15-2 

3. Other Eiders 15-1 

4. Pack Horses 15-0 

5. E.H.A. (Light Draught) Horses :— 

Lead 16-0 

Centre 15-3 

Wheelers 15-2 

6. E.F.A (Light Draught) Horses :— 

Lead 15-3 

Centre 15-3 

Wheelers 15-2 

7. Heavy Draught Horses 161 

8. Light Draught Mules 15-2 

9. Pack Mules 14-3 

Ordnance Mules, India (Mountain 
Battery) are from 13-2 to 14-1, and 


In estimating the height's quoted above, it is intended that 
they should be viewed as a guide only. Considerations of 
proportionate make and shape, and robustness of constitution, 
are primarily implied, and it goes without saying that these are 
necessary factors in the suitability of an Army horse of 
whatever class. 

Chaptee II. 


In remarking on the merits and demerits of the different 
breeds of Heavy Draught horses employed during the war, 
it is necessary to bear in mind that these animals have a 
greater value in civil life ( commerce and agriculture ) than 
for military use, and therefore it is wrong to judge them 
entirely from a military standpoint. They are also so 
surrounded with pride of country, competition of production, 
fancy, fashion, preference, prejudice even to controversy, and 
ill-luck during the war, that comparative .consideration is not 
altogether an easy one. Moreover, in France the latter 
difficulty was increased by the fact that so many animals 
were of crossed breeds, or so untrue to type, or so altered in 
form by the vicissitudes of campaign, that a differentiation of 
breed was in a large measure impossible. However, their 
value as a whole was highly appreciated by competent 
impartial judges in France, for on demobilisation and sale of 
surplus animals demand was so great that very high prices 
were realised. I call to mind one sale of fifty-two Heavy 
Draught Horses where the' average price realised was 
Frs. 3,166, two English Shire Horses brought Frs. 5,150 
and Frs. 5,000 respectively, though American Percheron 
cross-strains — notably Percheron and Clydesdale crosses — 
ran them pretty close. I may mention also that representatives 
of Land Reconstruction sent by the French Ministry of 
Agriculture to interview me and to show me types of mares 
which they desired to purchase for agriculturists in devastated 
areas, chose as the best type a big Shire, a tolerably good 
specimen of that breed. 


Shire Horses. 

Without question the Shire Horse as bred in England is 
the finest Heavy Draught Horse in the world. His merit is 
his size and strength, and if bred to proper type he is perfect 
in form. He commands a commercial value unequalled by any 
other Draught animal, and it is this commercial advantage which 
will ever commend his production to the agriculturist and 
breeder, and secure for him the premier place in England. It 
pays the ordinary farmer to breed him, to use him first for 
farm work, for which he is most suitable, and when nearing 
maturity to sell him to Eailway Companies, Milling and 
Lumber Companies, etc., for heavy haulage work. With legs 
and feet specially formed and adapted to get a good purchase 
on the ground, and with his muscular power and weight so 
perfectly distributed and balanced, the heavy haulage loads 
which he is capable of moving are astounding. I do not 
think he has his equal in this respect. 

I remember on one occasion at a well-known railhead in 
Northern France necessity arose to place some trucks for 
unloading. A Mobile Veterinary unit near by chanced to 
have a big Shire whose appearance indicated an association 
with British railways, and his services were enlisted for 
movement of the trucks. The old familiar way in which he 
turned to them, the quiet steady pull, and the stop at the word 
of command were most entertaining. He was back to his old 
job, and his metier having been discovered, he was in constant 
request, and performed very useful work at that railhead. 

All animals are creatures of environment. The climate and 
environment of England suits the Shire Horse, and his breed is 
therefore well established in that country. In other words he is 
good because he is born in England, just as the Clydesdale is 
best in his home in Scotland, and the Percheron excellent in 
France. But in the breeding of any of these classes outside their 
own particular habitat, say in a foreign country, the result is not 
altogether satisfactory. Type is lost, nondescripts are apt to 
be produced, and financially there is no gain. On this account 
it is extremely doubtful if the Percheron as a pure breed will 
ever make much headway in England, to which country he has 
recently been introduced by interested communities. Also 


the English farmer is too conservative to change his views ; he 
would prefer to stick to the animals he is accustomed to and 
knows, than resort to an alien, however good. 

The massive size of the Shire is his drawback as a war horse. 
He is too big. He requires a large ration, and all horses which 
have to perform heavy haulage must have bulky food in the 
form of hay and straw, which from force of military circum- 
stances it is not always possible to supply, or to find opportunity 
to consume. Major-General Sir Frederick Smith, in his book 
" Veterinary Hygiene," very aptly hits the nail on the head in 
the following remarks: — 

" The length of time it takes a horse to consume its daily 
diet is a question which seldom strikes anyone to enquire into, 
yet it is of utmost importance, especially for horses employed 
in commerce and military life. It takes a horse from five to 
ten minutes to eat one pound of corn, and fifteen to twenty 
minutes to eat one pound of hay. We shall not be far from 
the truth in saying that they require from five to six hours 
out of every twenty-four for feeding, that is to say, one quarter 
of the day must be expended in taking in nourishment for 
the repair of the machine. We see here the wisdom of the 
carter and cabman who puts on the nosebag at every 

Alas for the opportunity often on Field Service ! And it 
sums up the chief demerit of the Shire horse, or indeed any 
heavy draught horse in war. 

Another drawback to the Shire, and in like degree to the 
Clydesdales, but not to the same extent in the crossed 
Percherons — at least in those purchased overseas and sent to 
France — is that they ill stand movement by rail or sea from 
their original abode and surroundings. Their temperature 
goes up, they refuse their food, they begin to cough, and they 
are laid open to attacks of respiratory trouble. Very often 
movement from one stable to another is sufficient to bring 
this about. We had no luck with our heavy horses until we 
adopted a thorough system of taking temperatures — first at 
the place of purchase before movement to a Remount Depot, 
subsequently at Remount Depots before shipment to France, 
and again on disembarkation. They, above all other animals. 


necessitated residence in Eemount Depots in France before 
being drafted to units in the Field, endeavour being made to 
hold them up to three weeks. Their temperatures were 
carefully taken before entrainment— an absolutely necessary 

In the early days of the War, the mortality amongst our 
beautiful Shires from respiratory disease was very heavy. 
Circumstances of rapid collection, change of surroundings, 
change of diet, and exposure all militated against them, and 
they became prey to Pneumonia of the Influenzal type. Once 
over initial sickness, and " acclimatised," they rendered a 
good account of themselves where suitably placed. It has to 
be remembered that the serious forms of respiratory sickness 
in horses are referable to infection, and there is no doubt that 
the lethargic heavy horse is not only a readier prey to disease 
of this nature, but more easily succumbs than his lighter 

The heavy feathering on the legs of the Shire horse — and in 
like instance of the Clydesdale — proved a distinct disadvantage 
for service at the Front in France. Nature, without question, 
intended this covering as a protection to the heels and lower 
parts of the legs from wet and from injury, whether from 
ploughing in the furrow or from treads, but however much 
an advantage in the stiff clay lands of England, it was quite 
incompatible with the liquid mud of Northern France, churned 
up by countless animals and fouled at times to an intense degree 
by dung and urine. It was not possible to adequately clean 
such heavily coated legs — with the result that they were prone 
to " grease," cracked heels, and other affections of the skin of 
the legs. To remove the hair only produced or intensified a 
Seborrhoea. Votaries of fashion in their attention to the pro- 
duction of "feather," fine or otherwise, never dreamt of liquid 
filthy mud, sometimes knee and hock deep. 

However, at Base Ports, for Dock duty, and service on Lines 
of Communication generally, or under circumstances more or 
less approximating peace conditions, that is to say, for slow 
work on the top of the ground, with opportunity for getting a 
sufficiency of bulk in ration and plenty of time to eat it, and 


under favourable housing, the heavy Shire did well. With the 
'absence of these conditions, more or less, he is not so suitable 
in forward areas, and at times of supreme effort when extra 
care is lacking, he becomes a candidate for evacuation and the 
Veterinary Hospital. 

The smaller Shire on the other hand gave a good account of 
himself at the Eront, most certainly in Eoyal Army Service 
Corps units, and even in units of Heavy Artillery, provided he 
was of the right sturdy type, and seasoned. 

I have written more about the Shire than perhaps occasion 
requires, but having been brought up with him as it were, I may 
be excused in justly singing his praises. I close with remem- 
brance of a little mare, the grand-daughter of a pure-bred Shire 
mare (a prize winner at Agricultural Shows) by two thorough- 
bred crosses (the last being by "The Mate," winner of the Two 
Thousand Guineas) who was a good little hunter, a great stayer, 
and who took a gallant part in the Belief of Kimberly, suffering 
death at the hands of the enemy. 

Clydesdale Horse. 

From an active service point of view, the same demerits of 
proneness to Respiratory Disease on movement from an accus- 
tomed habitat, heavy feathering of the legs, and liability to 
"grease " and other diseases of the skin of the legs, exist in the 
Clydesdale as in the Shire ; but he has the merit of being smaller 
and more active, and it was shown in France that provided 
he was of a short-legged, stout, sturdy build, his record, even in 
the Forward Areas, was generally satisfactory. It is of course 
entirely, a matter of suitable placing. 

In no breed, hpwever, does type appear to be so variable. 
Many indifferent animals were sent the British Expeditionary 
Force, France. A large number were long-legged, flat sided^ 
and light in the middle — absolutely useless animals for the 
heavy draught purposes of War. It was difficult to recognise 
many of them as Clydesdales. Indeed it was quite evident that 
if it is desired to maintain a place of supreme excellence, this 
very useful breed of horse requires considerable grading up in 
its breeding. 


The Clydesdale strain found much favour with the Australian 
Corps in Prance, and the remarks of the Administrative Veter- 
inary Officer of that Corps are worth recording : — 

" There is little doubt in my mind and in all I have spoken to 
in this Corps that the best breed for military work in the heavy 
class is the low, clean-legged Clydesdale. Most of our horses 
from Australia were of this type, and they have been very much 
admired by good judges of horse-fiesh. They are smaller, more 
active, and yet have always been able to do as much work as 
the heavier Shire type, added to which they have obviously 
suffered less from the skin troubles of the legs, such as " grease," 
cellulitis, and necrotic dermatitis. Their smaller size allowed 
them to do better on the ration, and proved them to be more 
economical in feeding." 

He further added with regard to Clydesdales and breeding : — 

"For an Artillery animal, again, the Clydesdale Mare 
crossed with a thorough-bred stallion, gives as near the ideal as 
, we have been able to breed in Australia, and the gunner type 
most favoured by the Indian Army. Breeding with cross-bred 
stock is not found a success, as animals throw back to unknown 
ancestors and we get reversions to undesirable types. The 
method I am advising has been proved by many animals used 
in this War whose breeders and their methods I am familiar 

The Assistant Director of Veterinary Services of the Canadian 
Corps, who also had charge of all Eemount arrangements of the 
Corps, while remarking adversely on the Shire during the War 
— giving the usual objections in respect to "feather," and a 
brittleness of feet, reported of the Clydesdale as follows : — 

"The old-fashioned, short-legged, round-barrelled type has 
proved very satisfactory. Those that are leggy, and light of 
barrel have proved to be of little use." 

I have quoted Colonial and Dominion views specially, pre- 
suming such to be perhaps more unbiassed than purely Home 

Since my return to India on a third tour of Service I have 
visited nearly every Eemount Depot, and I am very much struck 
with the excellent Medium and Heavy Draught Horses received 
from Australia, and held under training primarily for Mesopo- 


tamia, I am all the more surprised because I never realised that 
animals of this class were procurable in numbers in Australia, 
and especially from Queensland, whence I noticed from their 
brands many of them came. Another surprise after coming 
fresh from the disposal of animals on demobilization in France, 
is the price at which these animals have been purchased and 
■landed in India, viz. ^45 and £50. If such animals had been 
offered for sale in France at the close of the War they would 
have realized anything from iGlOO to ^200. A pair of medium 
heavy draught horses which I recently saw in the Horse Trans- 
port Company in Waziristan certainly would have realized £250 
each horse. The majority of them are Clydesdales, and it is 
quite easy to pick out pure strains. At the sight of them I was 
instantly reminded of the remarks of the Australian Corps in 
France quoted above, and one could readily appreciate the 
Australian preference for the Clydesdale strain in draught 
horses. With such good material at reasonable cost, the thought 
naturally occurs to one's mind as to whether they could not be 
put to more general use in India for transport purposes both in 
Peace and War, and their production in Australia fostered. 
The small wheeled transport in common use in India, though 
suitable generally, absorbs a large number of carts, animals 
and men, and the employment of larger wagons {e.g. General 
Service), stronger animals, and fewer drivers, carries a sug- 
gestion of economy — at all events for certain purposes or 
under certain circumstances. No doubt the pohcy of utilising 
the resources of India for Army purposes is a correct one to 
follow, but it is necessary to remember that conditions which 
chiefly govern the growth of young stock are either deficient or 
absent in that country, and for Artillery and other forms of 
heavier draught, recourse elsewhere must be adopted. Australia, 
for instance, is a country, par excellence, of good grass and 
suitable climate, where stout and robust horses are raised, and 
it is a very happy circumstance that India has a call on the 
resources of that country to supply deficiences. There is now 
not a single type or class of horse for Military purpose, from the 
light Indian Cavalry to the heavy Artillery Draught, which 
cannot be procured in Australia. Furthermore, questions of 
supply of suitable animals are rendered easy by reason of the 


fact that there are resident in that country regular exporters of 
animals to India who not only know Army standards perfectly, 
but who are tutors towards suitable production in their own 
country. It only remains to remember that Australian horses, 
coming from a Southern Zone with reverse seasons, require in 
India a period of acclimatisation, and this is more necessary in 
the lethargic heavier types than in the light horses for Cavalry. 

Suffolk Punch. 

The number of this Class of Heavy Draught Horse employed 
during the War in France was relatively very small, and experi- 
ence of them was limited. Inconsequence, opinion was varied 
amounting to diverseness, some officers reporting extremely well 
on them, and others condemning them as unsuitable for Army 
work by reason of their being "top-heavy," and therefore 
subject to lameness in the feet when called on to perform hard 
road work. They certainly had two outstanding merits for 
Service on the Continent — an ability to maintain a round stout 
condition, amounting to fatness, on a shorter ration than other 
Heavy Draught types ; and their clean legs in muddy circum- 
stances — two assets which commended them highly in the eyes 
of Commanding Officers in the Field. The evidence which I 
gathered from Veterinary Hospitals pointed to weakness of the 
feet as the chief demerit of this breed of heavy horse. The 
remarks of one Veterinary Hospital Commander who was not 
only a very knowledgeable Civil Practitioner, but who had had 
considerable experience both with units in the Field and in 
Veterinary Hospitals, are worth quoting : — 

"The Suffolk Punch suffered from foot trouble owing to more 
or less standing on feet and joints defective in shape and make. 
This animal kept condition well, but as at home, is unsuitable 
for hard road work." 

On the other hand an officer whose powers of observation and 
opinion I rate highly, and who had a considerable pre-war 
experience in the purchase of draught remounts, reported on the 
Suffolk Punch as follows : — 

" Is a very useful horse but inclined to be a little over-topped. 
I have had four or j&ve of this breed during the War, and my 
opinion has entirely changed. I used to think they were soft 


and over-topped. I now think very highly of the breed. Those 
that I know were not soft, nor over-feathered, and worked 
splendidly— far better than any other horse we had. The huge 
body, heavy neck and head were made full use of by the animal 
while in draught. Instead of starting the load entirely by push- 
ing with the hind legs, these animals used their weight by 
leaning into the collar and throwing the weight forward. Con- 
stitutionally they appear to be very strong, and survived the 
conditions at the Front, but in most cases that I can recall, the 
Suffolk Punches were great pets in the Units and were very 
carefully looked after by their drivers." 

There is a good deal of truth in the last paragraph of this 
officer's report. Care is all important for the success of any breed 
of horse in War, and the docility and the good condition always 
maintained by the Suffolk are sure to find for him a place of 
favour. Personally, from my small experience of the Suffolk 
Punch, provided he is not over 16"1 in height — all above that 
height being rigidly excluded as unsuitable and undesirable — I 
consider him a v^y good and desirable War Horse. He is 
hardy, active, and even-tempered. If he is small, there will be 
no foot trouble. 

The Third and Fourth Armies in France reported well on 
them: in fact these Armies classed Suffolk Punches before 
Shires and Clydesdales for Military purposes. 

American Heavy Draught Horses. 

Though not so weighty and powerful as our best English 
Heavy Draughts, the' American Percheron or Crossed Percheron 
on the whole gave great satisfaction and was universally liked 
during the War in France. He teams well, is active, has a 
good constitution, is a good doer, and has good sound legs and 
feet. The absence of hair on the legs was a great asset in 
comparison to our English Heavies under the muddy circum- 
stances of winter in the Forward Areas. He is best described 
as a Medium Heavy, and as such he is quite big enough for the 
Heavy Draught purposes of War. As a draught animal I do 
not consider him in any way superior to our English Shire or 
Clydesdale, or to the smaller of these breeds of which he may 
be considered a parallel ; but there is no doubt that in War he 


can be more generally placed, and can stand hardships better 
than our Heavy Breeds. Whether or not his relatively satis- 
factory service in France was due in part to a return to the 
country of his ancestors can only be surmised. He certainly 
stood the climate very well. He shipped to the country on the 
whole well, and suffered less from serious respiratory sickness 
on landing than the Heavy Shires and Clydesdales._ At the 
same time it must be remembered, as I have previously remark- 
ed, that respiratory sickness is referable to infection, and in all 
classes of animals incidence of this form of disease was very 
greatly reduced by the rigid taking of temperatures on landing 
and previous to drafting to units. Moreover, the heavy mortality 
experienced amongst Shires and Clydesdales was during the 
first winter of the War, when they were practically without 
shelter of any kind and subjected to incessant rain — a very 
different state of affairs to the ample and good accommodation 
provided by such times as American shipments of Heavy 
animals commenced. 

An idea of utility may be gathered from the records of one 
Veterinary Hospital in France, at which out of 120 heavy 
•draught horses cast and sold in two years, 116 were British 
(the Officer Commanding was unable to differentiate Clydesdale 
from Shire) and four only were American. 

In another Veterinary Hospital, a Committee of Officers, 
Eoyal Army Veterinary Corps, drew attention to the fact that 
a fairly large percentage of Heavy Draught American Horses 
had Sidebones, but expressed the opinion that this defect could 
soon be bred out by careful selection of Sires ; in like manner 
to its exclusion in our English breeds following a more 
particular classification of the defect as an unsoundness. 

A very interesting account of the Percheron horse and the 
■extent to which he has found favour in both North and South. 
America as compared to our English breeds, may be obtained 
from Dechambre's Traite De Zootechnie, Vol. Les Equides, 
published by Messrs. AsseHn and Houzeau, Place de L'Ecole 
■de Medecine, Paris (a book really worth purchasing ; giving a 
description of all breeds of horses, the administration of Haras, 
and Eemounting of the French Army), and a few remarks will 
not be out of place in these pages. Of course, it is necessary to 


add that from an agricultural point of view, the land both in 
North and South America, does not require the heavy type of 
farm horse vs^hich the stiff clay land of England necessitates as 
a rule. Nevertheless the Percheron is a grand sire for a cross, 
and he is probably the most prepotent of all Sires. 

The first Percheron sent from France to the United States 
was in the year 1851. Up to 1872 purchases were exceptional. 
In that year mares as well as stallions were exported. Between 
the years 1880 and 1890, 1,000 to 1,200 stallions and from 100 
to 120 mares annually were sent. Exportations slackened off 
until 1900 when they were resumed fairly actively. At the 
same time the importation of Shires and Clydesdales into 
America would appear to have decreased. In the year 1903 
the American Percheron Stud Book registered 37,000 animals, 
while the Clydesdales numbered 10,000 and Shires 7,400. 

The introduction of Percherons into the Argentine has also 
been recent. Seven Stallions were imported in 1900, 256 in 
1906, and 180 in 1907. 177 animals comprising 75 Stallions 
and 102 Mares were imported in 1908. In comparison with 
the latter during the same year (1908) 73 Clydesdales (54 
Stallions and 19 Mares), 53 Shires, and 47 Boulonnais were 
imported. The Stud Book Eegisters of the Argentine in 1909 
as quoted by Mons. Lesage, of the Veterinary Institute, Buenos 
Aires, gives the following list of Mares : — 

Percheron Mares 1878 Suffolk Punch Mares 169 















Polo pony 


Total 5879 

The Percherons purchased by the Argentine are not so 
massive as those exported to the United States, and purchasers 
of the latter country have a preference for black colour instead 
of the " gris pommele " which is the primitive colour of the 

Another very useful French heavy draught horse, a few of 
which found their way into our Army by requisition in the 
early days of the War, is the Boulonnais, and as his home (Pas 


de Calais) was in our midst during our operations in Northern 
France, he became very well known to us and was much 
appreciated by good judges of horses. His colour is chiefly 
grey, not the usual colour for an Army horse ; (Note. — There is 
no reason why this colour should now be debarred) but he is a 
good, compact, sturdy, stout-hearted animal, with a great 
record for draught, and is an ideal farm horse. 

The heavy Beige (Brabanoonne) with his massive crest, 
which we used to see a good deal of in England at one time, is 
too big as a war horse, but he is an economic factor in Belgium, 
and his breed entered into some of the crossed American horses 
used by us during the War. 

The Ardennes horse is very good, and is a favourite for 
Artillery purposes and medium heavy draught. 

In any community of animals, however, whatever the breed, 
there is always a variation in size, and the smaller horses of 
heavy draught strains, if other good points are e^ual, can and 
should be selected. For general draught purposes in 
Formations and units at the Front, the most satisfactory of all 
animals was the heavy light-draught Welsh cart horse. Strong, 
active and hardy, he is hard to beat for all-round draught 
purposes, and if the question of breeding specially for the Army 
ever arises, this type should be kept in view and followed. The 
draught animals purchased in Wales previous to the War for 
the Eoyal Army Service Corps were patterns of excellence, and 
they did remarkably well. We could have done with more of 

Chapter III. 


According to Army specifications and requirements, a light 
draught horse is one which should be capable of drawing a 
weight of 1200 lb. for approximately twenty miles per day, 
walk about three miles an hour, and trot at an average of six 
miles. This is of course a simple guide to show the degree of 
power expected, and to indicate a necessary activity in this class- 


of animal. It is based more or less on the comparatively easy 
times of peace, and work on level roads. War, however, upsets 
all fine calculations, and it is the ability to weather the varying 
vicissitudes of campaign, and to maintain energy under trying 
conditions and adverse circumstances that form the chief 
desiderata of a draught horse. 

In this connection a study of the carefully thought out 
Tables of Transport with details of vehicles and weights to be 
carried, given in our Field Service Pocket Book, is most 

The heaviest wastage and the greatest demand during the 
late War related to light draught horses, and twenty of this 
class were purchased to one of all the other classes put together. 
It is really marvellous how the supply of suitable animals was 
maintained, because in recent years the production of this type 
of animal has been influenced by the substitution of mechanical 
means for trams, 'busses, and for many commercial and trade 
pursuits. Take for instance the London General Omnibus 
Company in 1903 with a stud of 18,000 horses, the Eoad Car 
Company 5,000, Tillings 7,000, and the thousands upon 
thousands of tram horses in all parts of the world, each animal 
probably requiring renewal every four or five years. All are 
now conspicuous by their absence, and it is a regrettable 
absence of animals, hard, inured to work, and specially suited 
thereby for draught purposes of war. It does not pay to breed 
them, at least in many countries, for they are not altogether an 
agricultural type of horse. We very soon touched bed-rock in 
this class of horse in the United Kingdom, and purchase 
elsewhere was resorted to. 

In speaking of British horses it is necessary to point out that 
horses are more commonly classed by categories of Service than 
by Eaces. For instance we speak of Saddle horses and draught 
horses, and furthermore they are grouped into race horses, 
hunters, hacks, carriage horses, van horses, 'bus horses, coach 
horses, farm horses, and so on. It is only in respect to Heavy 
breed, Thoroughbreds, Hackneys, Cleveland Bays, Yorkshire 
Coach horses, or whenever Stud books are maintained, that 
allusion is made to particular breeds or races. We differ con, 
siderably in this respect from other countries, as for instance- 


the Bretons, Norfolk-Bretons, Anglo-Normands, Petit Percher- 
ons, Ardennais, and Anglo-Arabians of France. 

The horses comprising the hght draught of the United 
Kingdom are of so mixed a product in breeding that it is best 
to classify them under the generic term of light draught. 
Obviously, where crossing ranges from through-bred to heavy 
draught the result is varied, and in selection for different 
purposes " type " more than breed or race is followed. In our 
Army at Home we have type L.D. 1. for Artillery, with the 
sub-classifications of leaders, centres and wheelers, the latter 
being sturdier and stouter than the two former ; and L.D. 2. for 

■ Unquestionably, the pre-war " Gunner " type of draught 
horse, whether bred in England or Ireland, proved the best 
light draught horse which took part in the War. The sturdy, 
blocky horses with stout round quarters, which our Bemount 
Service at Home were accustomed to buy before the War, 
have always been famous, and are quite typical of our Artillery. 
They have no demerits, and cannot be beaten in any country 
or army in the world. 

They are, however, run very close by the Australian horses 
of our Horse and Field Artillery in India, in fact there are 
many impartial judges in our Royal Artillery who would give 
the palm to the Australian horse, particularly in the Horse 
Artillery class, which is proverbially excellent in quality and 
substance. I can call to mind a good many Horse Artillery 
Leaders of Australian origin who would have given a good 
account of themselves over a steeplechase course, and who 
would have proved gold mines if they had not joined the Army. 
I have already alluded to the serviceable character of 
Australian horses with the Australian Corps in France. Others 
served in the Egyptian and Mesopotamian Expeditionary 
Forces, and their good record is undoubted. Australia is 
particularly good in this class of horse, and I am certain that a 
very strong reason for this is the annual steady demand which 
India can give for its Army. A satisfactory feature also of 
Australian horses is that they are essentially of English 
extraction, Clydesdales and Thorough-bred strains chiefly 
enter into their composition. The only drawback, as I have 


previously explained, is that for service in a Northern zone with 
reverse seasons to their own, they require a certain amount of 
acclimatisation. Shipments direct from Australia to France 
were tried in the early days of the War, but as will be readily 
realised the long sea journey in addition to service in a country 
of reverse season militated against the success of an immediate 
issue. Under such circumstances the best course is to hold 
them in India for acclimatisation. I need not say that this is 
fully known and appreciated. 

India is not in a position to breed horses of a light draught 
type suitable for Artillery purposes. Its climate is hot and 
enei-vating, and it lacks the green grass of pastures essential for 
the growth of young stock. An attempt was made some years 
ago, by the introduction of Norfolk Trotters to increase the size 
and substance of animals which, with Arab crossing, might 
produce remounts suitable for Artillery purposes ; but the result 
was a failure. Much controversy on the subject ensued, but 
the crux of the matter lay in the unsuitability of the country to 
raise anything but light Cavalry horses, and those of pony class. 
Yet in a good grass country like Australia, Norfolk Trotter 
crosses with Thoroughbreds have produced very good Artillery 
horses of the Horse Artillery class, and chargers. The 
progenitor of the Turanville Stud, New South Wales (brand 
a.R., Mr. Thomas Cook) was a splendid Norfolk Trotter, by 
name " Flying Shales." His successor was "Warwick Shales" 
out of a Thoroughbred mare by "Warwick." Their stock put 
to Thoroughbred stallions of good strains have produced 
numbers of remounts for our Horse Artillery in India. The 
Anglo-Normands and Postier Bretons of the French Artillery 
are of mixed Norfolk Trotter blood. The merit and suitability 
of any particular breed therefore greatly depends on the country 
of production, and it is equally true of all animals, whether 
draught or saddle. 

The original Canadian Divisions brought over to France some 
very useful horses of Canadian extraction, and they did well. 
They were mixed strains of English, Continental and American 
horses. Canada maintains its Clydesdale and Shire Horse 
Societies, as in England, but with the growth of the country in 
recent years, particularly in the West, Canada imported from 


her Southern neighbour for agricultural purposes. However, 
the ground- work of Canadian horses is our best English stock- 
Many of the London General and other Omnibus Companies, 
and general utiUty horses shipped from England to South 
Africa during the South African War, which were universally 
well reported on for their endurance, were Canadian horses; 
and Canada has always shown a desire for custom in the supply 
of our home Army. The prairies of the West are excellent for 
the production of good stock for Army purposes, both draught 
and saddle. Our Kemount Purchase system abroad at the 
beginning of the late War was based on Canada, Eeception 
Depots at approved centres being arranged. Ports for embar- 
kation earmarked, and Purchasing Depots or Centres contiguous 
to the Canadian Pacific Eailway forming part of the general 
scheme. A rather remarkable and interesting fact, showing 
how easily horse-breeding is influenced by circumstances was 
that in the early eighties, when bicycles of the pneumatic type 
took so strong a hold on people's minds, it was strongly 
considered that the days of horses, at least those of pleasure and 
of a riding class, were numbered, and in the practical Western 
World down went the production. I may at the same time 
mention that Mr. Dunlop, the inventor and originator of the 
pneumatic tyre which bears his name, and whose photograph is 
to be seen so prominently in advertisements, is a Veterinary 
Surgeon, and one whose delight in discussion on horse politics 
is not in any way diminished by the importance of his discovery 
or by his retirement from the active domain of his profession. 
• Wastage in the light draught classes of horses during the latg 
War was, however, chiefly met by importations direct from the 
United States of America, where the greatest field of purchase 
lay. This was particularly so at least when the United States 
herself entered into the conflict. No other country in the world 
is so richly endowed in horses, and in this class of horse 
especially. Her resources are remarkable, and the aid which 
she could afford to the Allied Powers in the command of the 
most useful animals of the world was a prominent factor in the 
downfall of the enemy. 

Into the composition of the eighteen millions horses with 
which the United States of America is credited, and taking them 


as a whole, tjiere enters by crossment, re-crossment and by 
special selection, nearly every known breed or species of 
European horse, including the original Spanish stock implanted 
in the South in the seventeenth century, the English well-bred 
importations of Kentucky, horses from the Netherlands to New 
Amsterdam originally, Canadians of French origin in early times, 
Clydesdales, Shires, Suffolk Punches, English Thorough-breds, 
Hackneys, Bretons, Belgians, Oldenburghs, and more recently 
and in considerable numbers the Percherons. Certain breeds 
have been specialised, notably the " Standard Bred " trotter, 
the progenitor of which was an English Thoroughbred 
" Messenger," though the more immediate pater familias was 
a horse named " Eysdyk's Hambletonian " foaled in 1849 and 
reputed to be the father of 1300 foals. As other countries, the 
United States maintains its Horse Breeding Associations with 
their Stud Books, as for instance, The American Clydesdale 
Association at Chicago, the American Percheron Society, the 
American Saddle Horse Beeeder Association, and others. I 
mention the above to show as briefly as I can what the 
generality of American horses are like, for as replacement of 
casualties they came very prominently into the War, both the 
British and French Governments having purchased large 

Provided our British ideas as to type of light draught horses 
suitable for Artillery and other Army draught purposes are 
strictly adhered to, that is to say, if animals are compact, with 
good stout backs and quarters, the American horse will show as 
good a record in war as any other. He has already proved his 
merit as a general utility horse in peace time. , His shoulder is 
as a rule very good. And in a matter of backs and quarters in 
purchasing, perhaps I may be permitted by way of divergence 
to relate two little circumstances of an instructive nature. An 
old Artillery friend with whom I was associated for two years 
in the purchase of Australian Remounts in Calcutta, never once 
omitted to stand up to the horse's shoulder and look over his 
back as to breadth and stoutness. It was his strong point in 
purchase. The horses of one particular shipper invariably had 
stout round quarters. His animals could be picked out quite 
feasily without referring to his- distinctive brand. The shipper 


was born and brought up amongst horses in England, and stout 
quarters were for ever duly impressed on his retina. 

However, it was our experience in France that a large 
number of American-bred horses were leggy and long in the 
back, and this category is opposed to the severe conditions of 
war, particularly under circumstances of wet and mud. It is 
forcibly brought home to us by a visit to a war Veterinary 
Hospital. Where light draught horses have to be used at times 
for pack purposes, with oscillating loads, the necessity for 
compactness, for stout backs and quarters, is even more 
important. Of course in a great war where demand is so great, 
it is very often a case of getting what you can, or purchasing as 
near specifications as supply or resources permit ; but even 
" border-liners " fail in the offing. Moreover, adding to demerit 
are the factors of more or less sudden transplantation for hard 
work into a foreign country, and the partially trained and soft 
condition of animals rapidly got together to meet wastage. It 
is really piling wastage on wastage, but difficult or well nigh 
impossible to avoid in a great war such as we have lately 

Argentine horses, so far as British Expeditionary Forces were 
concerned, came little into prominence as draught horses during 
the War. Purchases, however, were made by the French and 
Belgian Governments. For the most part they are of the riding 
type, and I shall remark on them more fully under that heading. 
Speaking generally of Argentine horses, they may be divided 
into two classes — the Crillio or native-bred, height from 13 
hands to 14'3 and by far the most numerous (approximately 
4,000,000 out of a total horse population of 4,500,000), and the 
Mestizo or cross-bred. The Mestizo is the result of the foreign 
stallion on Crillio mares, and the main reason for the intro- 
duction of foreign blood was the desire for horses suitable for 
carriage work. When I visited the country in 1908 the haut 
monde of Buenos Aires rejoiced in their turn-outs, and a first 
class horse was worth as much there as in Europe. Imported 
stock included English thorough-breds, hunters, hackneys, 
Anglo-Normans, Arabs, Morgans from the United States, 
Trakehnens, Oldenburgs, Hanoverians, Orloffs, Percherons, 
Clydesdales, Shires, Cleveland Bays and Suffolk Punches. The 


foregoing will give an idea of the . composition of Argentine 
horses, and it will further show that from a suitable Artillery 
draught point of view the field of supply is somewhat limited. 
I remember the difficulty experienced by the British Eemount 
Commission purchasing for South Africa in 1908 in obtaining 
suitable horses for Artillery. One hundred and twenty were at 
last selected, and they were fairly good specimens, showing 
Clydesdale, Cleveland Bay, and Percheron strains. 

A great drawback to the Argentine horse as a war animal, 
and particularly for the more or less immediate purposes of war, 
is that he is " grass fed." As a rule he knows little about grain, 
his chief diet being the beautiful alfalfa which grows so 
profusely in the Argentine, either under cultivation as a hay 
crop, or forming a considerable part of the herbage of pastures- 
He misses the latter greatly when taken to other countries, and 
his introduction to manger foods, and particularly the use of a 
nose-bag, is often a gradual process of coaxing. One can quite 
understand softness and a falling away in condition under such 
circumstances — which really sums up our experience of the 
Argentine horse generally in war. 

Though the present section is intended to deal only with 
animals employed bj^ our own Armies, 1 may be excused brief 
mention of some of the races and types of light draught horses 
of our Allies in France. The Petit Percheron, or Postier 
Percheron, the French Tramway horse of former days, is a 
hardy, sturdy animal, and I should like to see a few selected 
teams of this strain in the hands of our Artillery Horse-masters. 
I am confident they would give great satisfaction for strength 
and endurance. 

The Postier Breton, with his touch of Norfolk blood, is a 
great favom-ite in French Artillery. 

The Ardennes horse also has a great reputation as an Artillery 
horse, not only in France, but in Belgium, Germany, and even 
in Russia. He is a hard, stout, short little animal, perhaps to 
om" English idea somewhat " jumped-up," to use a horsey 
phrase, and in some districts one appears to see in him a trace 
of Arab blood, which I understand was introduced in 1810 by 


Chapter IV.— HACKNEYS. 

The British Expeditionary Force was specially asked to 
include in its report an account of the merits or otherwise of 
animals showing Hackney blood. In no race of English breed 
is prejudice so strongly shown, and such prejudice is chiefly in 
relation to his utility as a riding horse. He is essentially a 
light roadster, a horse of fashion and pleasure for light carriage 
work, where his high stepping action and prowess at the trot, 
which form his chief characteristic, can be displayed to the best 
advantage. As pure blood, war is not his metier, unless it bears 
relation to an officers' mess cart or other light draught duty, or 
the credit of the country is required to be upheld at a Horse 
Show. It was generally reported from the Front in France 
that animals of Hackney blood had no special merit as military 
animals, the chief fault being lack of stamina. Comparatively 
few pure-bred hackneys or animals showing much hackney 
blood passed through Veterinary Hospitals in the British 
Expeditionary Force, France, which was an indication that 
relatively few animals of this class {i.e. pure or predominance 
of hackney blood) participated in the War. It was further 
stated that though there were individual instances of horses of 
predominant hackney blood which proved useful riding horses 
for ordinary work, they would fail in fast work. 

All the same, as I have several times remarked. Hackney or 
Norfolk Trotter blood enters to a considerable extent into the 
composition of the light draught horses of various countries, 
with marked success ; and I think therefore his chief merit lies- 
in his suitability for cross-mating in the production of horses 
adaptable for light draught purposes, whether for general utility 
or for the Army. A good many of our small cart-horses have a 
dash of hackney blood, and the activity, stoutness, and hardiness 
of these have been greatly commended. 


Chapter V. 

" Nevertheless it is generally agreed that the horse, not the 
cavalryman, did dominate war during many centm:ies, for it was 
the use made of the horse, with a rider, that often lent decisive 
power. It may siirely be claimed, therefore, that it was the 
horse, not the ' moral threat ' that proved the most powerful 
weapon of Cavalry, even as recently as the campaign of 1918 in 

I am exceedingly glad to read the above from the able pen of 
Major-General W. D. Bird, c.B., c.m.g. d.s.c, in his article 
" Years versus Ideas " published in the Cavalry Journal of July 
1920, rt propos a question of Tanks in replacement of Cavalry. 

The days of Cavalry in our Army are no more numbered by 
the threat of Tanks than they were affected by introduction of 
bicycles or the use of aeroplanes. One War is no criterion of 
the next — or another. It is nature, or flesh and blood, that 
forms the prime factor of War ; all else are appliances whereby 
it can be most successfully waged. Man is the element, the 
animal is his co-ef&cient, and armament is his determinator. It 
is certain that War will never be conducted without animals, 
both from the essential and the economic aspects of it. It is the 
same now as it was 2500 years ago, and there is little reason to 
suppose that the future will disclose any material change 
excepting in armaments, and until, through the latter, War is 
made altogether impossible. We will therefore continue to 
discuss our co-efficient — or our business partner in War. 

It is extraordinary how meagre history of war is in respect to 
the part played by animals. Historians are more concerned 
with tactical problems and the lessons to be derived therefrom 
than to the actual pawns that are used in the game. For 
instance, I have searched through many books to extract 
information with regard to draught horses in War, but with 
very poor success. The achievements of Cavalry are more fully 
recorded, but mention is in general terms only as a rule, and 
insufficient to point to special merit or otherwise of the animals 


Our Field Service Eegulations and systems now, however, 
include War Diaries and the submission of Departmental and 
Technical Eeports and Returns, and it is possible therefrom to 
collate a reasonably accurate account of the doings of all animals, 
of mortality and inefficiency experienced, and to draw conclu- 
sions therefrom. One's own personal experience also must 
necessarily be brought to account. 

Nothing has ever equalled our Irish horses for Cavalry work. 
They are a class by themselves, and we are fortunate in having 
so favourable a country as Ireland for the production of light 
horses. It is to be hoped that the industry of light horse 
breeding in Ireland will be encouraged in every waj'. It is really 
an advantage that purchasers from other countries and armies 
go there for horses. It encourages production, and it shows the 
esteem in which Irish bred horses are held. 

Cavalry, and particularly in respect to the aj-me hlanche, 
unfortunately did not take so prominent a part in France as in 
previous wars, or as in Palestine ; but the merit of our Cavalry 
horses cannot be gainsaid. They leave nothing to be desired. 
It was extraordinary how well those advanced in years, and 
even old, stood the campaign, and the old rule of excluding 
animals over twelve years of age for war has been exploded- 
The limit of age is determined by the animal's physical ability, 
and it is sufficient for the animal to show it. For riding 
purposes, and particularly for fast Cavalry work, the Thorough-, 
bred Sire is essential — whatever the foundation stock is ; and 
where Debility and Exhaustion are the chief cause of inefficiency 
and wastage, it goes without saying that the stout, compact, 
robust animal with good back and loin is the type required. 
Wastage in Cavalry during the W^r in France was much less 
from lameness than from Debility and poor condition associated 
with the adverse circumstances obtaining. 

A propos of the purchase of Irish horses for Cavalry and 
riding purposes, I should like to refer to the old cry that the 
foreigners were taking the best mares out of the country, and 
which from my experience of remount purchasing in that 
country I, personally, considered very much of a bogey cry. It 
may not be generally known that 75 per cent, of Cavalry troop 
horses are mares. Why ? Because, apart from the fact that 


Equine population comprises more females than males, the 
small animal of any species is usually the feraale, and in the case 
of purchase of troopers for Cavalry or for riding animals where 
specifications of height and price are relatively low, mares form 
the bulk purchased. The geldings, which are usually the bigger 
animals, are sold as hunters and chargers, at a much greater 
price, and if a catalogue of the Eoyal Dublin Horse Show is 
scrutinized it will be found that the majority of the exhibits in 
the hunter classes are geldings, the creme de la creme of 
production. It is also interesting to relate that the majority of 
hansom-cab animals in London and other towns in days gone 
by were mares, the reason being that they were smaller and 
cheaper than geldings, they were quicker and safer on their 
legs in rounding corners, and moreover they could be trained 
to hansom-cab work six weeks earlier than geldings. 

A very simple classification of riding horses 3,dopted by our 
Remount Service at Home is K 1 for Cavalry and E 2 for other 
riding purposes. Conditions of service or work being so dis- 
similar in these two classifications, obviously the animal which 
may be suitable in the latter would not always meet the 
necessary desiderata of the former. Ability to carry weight 
and to maintain power and energy under such weight over a 
more or less prolonged period is the essential factor of a Cavalry 
Trooper. The weight which an ordinary Cavalry Troop horse 
must carry is at least 18 stones, comprising the rider (say 
average weight 10 st. 101b.) saddlery, arms, accoutrements, 
ammunition, clothing, necessaries, rations and water. To 
meet requirements a certain degree of height is necessary, and 
above all, stoutness, robustness and fitness are indispensable, 
especially when the country to be traversed is heavy with mud 
and mire. There are very few of our best hunters that have 
ihe merit of carrying 15 stones. The average height of our 
British Cavalry Troop horses is about 15"1. Personally, I think 
that height, except in special instances, should not exceed 15'2 — 
for the reason that adequacy of ration plays so great a part in 

The history of Cavalry in War from very early times, when 
it formed the chief arm, and certainly the most popular one, the 
many changes [of its function and employment as necessitated 


by armament, and the great influence which Cavalry and 
Mounted Men-at-Arms has had on the breeding of horses in the 
United Kingdom and the Continent of Europe generally, is 
most interesting; and were it not too long a subject, and perhaps 
beyond the scope of the present work, it would have been 
instructive to recount the achievements or failures of animals 
which, as Major-General Bird says, lent such decisive power in 

In speaking of the merits or otherwise of the Cavalry horse 
one must not forget the man. Courage and endurance in the 
one must find like attributes in the other, and if success is to be 
achieved the man must be a good horseman and a good rider, 
in other words, they must be one machine or implement of war 
suitably combined for offensive, which is the real function of 
Cavalry. The success of Cavalry of ancient days — of Alexander 
the Great, of Hannibal, of Cromwell, of Gustavus Adolphus, of 
Frederick the Great, Marlborough, Napoleon, and right down 
to the present day has been in a large measure due to this 
factor of combination, and so it will be as long as Cavalry exists. 
Hence it is that our Army authorities attach so much import- 
ance to our Equitation Schools and the regimental training of 
man and horse together. 

Note as against this the most unsuitable combination of man 
and horse in the Feudal times, where both were so heavily 
encased in armour that they could not move out of a walk ; 
where the knight, though trained from his youth up in the 
use of arms and most proficient in them, was yet often so 
indifferent a horseman and so heavy with armour that he had 
to be tied to his mount. " Monstrelet writing in 1416 remarks 
on the astonishment which certain Italians created amongst 
French men-at-arms because they could actually turn their 
horses at a gallop." (History of the Army, by Honourable J. 
Fortescue). And by the same token King Edward III, The 
Black Prince, and King Henry V, consistently won their 
battles at Crecy, Poictiers, Agincourt, by splitting this unwieldy 
combination, ordaining that their men-at-arms should fight on 
foot as opposed to the French men-at arms who sat on their 
horses — to suffer discomforture by the terror and unmanageable 
ness of their mounts caused by showers of arrows from the 


English archers. Certainly in those early days the mounts were 
not very well adapted to carry such heavy weights and to achieve 
success as Cavalry. Spanish horses were the favourites for 
speed, endurance, and courage ; and Edward III got all his 
remounts from Spain. Each knight had three horses, his first 
charger being a stallion, the other two being either geldings or 
mares, the smallest being a palfrey which he rode until the 
danger point, when he was equipped by his squire and mounted 
his first charger. 

The story of battles in which Knights and men-at-arms took 
part is not complete without an allusion to the blind yet 
exceedingly brave King John of Bohemia at the battle of Crecy 
He asked to be led forward into the fray, and his knights, not 
wishing to lose him, fastened the reins of the horses together, 
putting him at their head. They fought so valiantly and advanced 
so far that they were all killed, and were found next morning 
on the ground with their horses still tied together. A glorious 
ending to man and beast. 

The extreme dearth of good horses was one of the 
complications of the collapse of the old Feudal Service (Henry 
Vn time) and it was left to King Henry VHI, by enactments 
very carefully and rigidly enforced, to lay the foundation of our 
horse-breeding in England. 

Category E 2 horses, as previously mentioned, includes riding 
animals not required to do the fast work of Cavalry. They are 
less in height, may include cobs and ponies, and are allotted to 
riding purposes of Field Companies, Infantry chargers, and 
Ancillary Services. Their work being lighter, as a rule there, 
are no complaints in respect to them, and provided they are 
suitable lor the riders concerned, and that intelligent sympa- 
thetic care is bestowed on them, they show a very good record 
of service. Speaking generally, E 2 had little experience of 
Veterinary Hospitals in France. They were somewhat like the 
men of Mobile Veterinary Sections, inasmuch as they had no 
use for back areas. Cobs were positively conspicuous by their 
absence in Veterinary Hospitals. 

I have briefly alluded to Hackneys as riders. They were 
not appreciated as such for fast work, but for ordinary, quiet 


riding purposes they, and their fellows with predominant 
hackney blood, were quite satisfactory. 

The thorough-bred, or racehorse, if I may so term him, is not^ 
as a rule, a military horse, but price permitting, there are places 
even for him on necessity, such as light charger duty. 

Australian Riding Horses. 

For a number of years India has depended considerably on 
Australia and New Zealand not only for British and Indian 
Cavalry but for its animals of pleasure, chargers, hacks, polo 
ponies, etc. They have very few demerits as military animals 
when carefully selected as to standard specification. There is 
plenty of trash in Australia, as in other countries — for which 
probably so much five-furlong sprint racing is to a great extent 
responsible — but when India has the call on importers who 
know Army requirements perfectly, tliere ought to be few 
"misfits" where Indian Kemounting is concerned. The ground- 
work, as I have previously remarked, is English stock, and the 
country is remarkably adapted to the raising of animals of good 
■substance and strength. At one time nearly all British Cavalry 
Regiments in India were mounted ,on Australian horses (the 
term "Waler" was a common expression) and they were 
classed as medium Cavalry. Now-a-days British Cavalry is 
mounted largely on country-breds by English thorough-bred, 
Australian, and Arab sires on country stock. The majority of 
Indian Cavalry Eegiments under the Silladar System, and 
particularly if they are garrisoned within reasonable distance 
from Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, where Australian horses are 
landed and rail charges thereby moderate, have for many years 
purchased small, somewhat inferior, and cheap Australian 
horses in preference to country-breds. These animals rejoice in 
the name of " Bounders " which perhaps sufficiently explains 
their quality, and the cost price up to recent year? was Rs. 3.50 
as against the better class horse for British Cavalry at 
approximately Es. 800, and as against the Silladar Indian 
country-bred at Es. 250. These so-called " Bounders," many of 
which are excellent small animals, are much appreciated by 
Silladar Cavalry units, not only for their ability to bring a little 
.grist to the mill of the Chunda Fund by an occasional sale of a 


made pair to the Commissioner or other notability, but for their 
generally satisfactory service as light troop-horses and their 
superiority over the country-bred of Es. 250 value. Their vs^ar 
record on the frontiers of India, with the Indian Cavalry Corps 
in France and in Palestine, clearly proves their merit and 
usefulness for Indian Cavalry men, who are not as heavy as the 
British soldier, though the sowar went up in weight consider- 
ably in France. Their value as trained troop-horses was also 
appreciated by the Indian Cavalry Corps in France, who 
specially asked that arrangements might be made whereby 
units could get their own horses back after treatment in 
Veterinary Hospitals, which could easily be effected by 
Bemount Service, as the animals were branded with the 
regimental designation. 

Australian horses are all branded, and it . is comparatively 
easy to tell the part of the Commonwealth from which they 
come. The largest number of military horses that I see in 
India at present hail from Queensland. Importers also have 
their own brands, placed under the saddle, and the merits or 
otherwise of the importer's purchases can therefore be duly 

New Zealand horses are much more like English horses in 
appearance than Australians, and they are unbranded. 

It was unfortunate and regrettable that the Australian horses 
sent to South Africa during the Boer War of 1899-02 were 
adversely reported on. The reason was that shipments were 
not typical of what Australia could produce as their real or most 
suitable war horse. Most of the animals required during that 
war were for Mounted Infantry purposes. Small horses of the 
cobby, type were asked for. Such animals did not exist, at least 
not to any appreciable extent. There were " brumbies," 
" bounders," and small, weedy thorough-breds — the result of 
breeding for speed in five-furlong racing, a veritable curse in 
the horse-breeding of any country. One can quite understand 
the disappointment in Australian shipments of this class, and 
the bad report which followed. Moreover, during that War 
the wastage was so severe that importations were practically 
sent straight up the line, and never had a chance of showing 
any merit. 


However, the account is now squared. The Austrahan riding 
horse at war in the various theatres during the past six years^ 
whether in France, in Egypt, Palestine, Mesopotamia, East 
Africa, or on the Frontiers of India, has not only travelled 
farther than any other animal, but he has held his own against 
all comers. The best of them are superb ; the second raters 
have acquitted themselves with distinction. 

Argentine Riding Horses. 

Under the heading of Light draught-horses, I mentioned 
that the majority of horses in the Argentine were riding horses 
In the main there are Crillio, or native-bred, height from 13'3 
to 14' 3, suitable only for Mounted Infantry and Light Cavahy. 
Others are crossed Crillio mares with European Stallions and 
are larger, but these are limited in number. The Crillio, small 
horse or pony, (a gelding — the mares not being used) is a 
wonderful animal in his own country. He will canter along for 
80 miles in a day with comparative ease, carrying a huge saddle 
or recado weighing over 60 lb. weight ; and he turns out to be 
a remarkably good polo pony. Yet no name was bad enough 
for him in South Africa during the Boer War, in fact his 
purchase was absolutely stopped. In common with others he 
shared the fate of being drafted into work immediately after 
landing. He, above all other animals, requires time to acquire 
military ways. He is a very home-sick animal, sadly misses 
his friends of his tropilla, grieves and sulks for days, and in the 
process of breaking-in he often has had the stuffing knocked out 
of him. He is grass-fed in his own country, and one cannot 
expect anything but disaster to overtake an animal so fed when 
invited to eat grain — which he has not been accustomed to, and 
out of a nosebag the like of which he has never before seen. 
The iron enters into his soul, his soft spirit is broken, and he 
gives up the ghost. Such is hardly his fault, but at the same 
time his appearance, with ,his blazed face and his white legs, is 
indicative of a softness of constitution which is not in keeping 
with the requirements of a war animal. 

The Hungarian, also a grass-fed animal, failed in like manner 
in South Africa. Moreover, Hungarian peasants do not ride> 
their animals as a rule being yoked together as a pair in a hght 
four-wheeled vehicle. 



I have no great liking for Arabs for Cavalry, at least for 
British Cavalry in India. I am always reminded of the 
occasion of casting about thirty of them for sprained tendons 
and ligaments, at an annual veterinary inspection of the 15th 
Hussars at Muttra, in 1907. They were mostly young animals. 
The men were too heavy for them in training. It was rather 
a surprise tome, for Arabs, though really ponies, are virtually 
miniature horses, stunted by reason of the country of their 
birth ; but their beautiful make and shape are altogether in 
favour of carrying weight. And it is no uncommon sight to see 
Arab polo ponies moving like clock-work under heavy owners 
on the polo field. But as long as the Arab horse up to 14-2 
commands the very high price as a racing animal, or even a 
lesser price as a polo pony, he will not bulk very largely as a 
military troop horse. His endurance, particularly in arid 
regions, is phenomenal, and his prepotency as a sire remarkable. 
Old history of war is full of his achievements, and he left more 
than "foot-prints in the sands" wherever his incursions and 
excursions took him. I specially use the masculine gender in 
his description because Arab mares are not permitted to leave 
the country of their origin, and " himself " for the most part 
has to be " altered " in a little matter on joining His Majesty's 
Forces, which makes him more amenable to discipline and 
altogether a better soldier. 

Included in this breed is the Syrian horse or pony, which 
has performed such marvellous work in Cavalry in Egypt in 
days gone by. He has a wonderful constitution and is admir- 
ably adapted to warfare in Eastern climes. An example of 
endurance under trying conditions of paucity of rations and 
lack of water is recorded in the annals of the Nile Expedition 
of 1884-1885, for the Belief of Khartoum, in which Arab 
stallions, average height 14 hands, average age 8 to 9 years, 
purchased by the Egyptian Government in Syria and Lower 
Egypt for Egyptian Cavalry and delivered over to the 19th 
Hussars, performed one of the most remarkable feats possible 
to relate. 

The following is a brief history of their achievement. In 
June 1884 they were taken by barges from Cairo to Assouan, 


where they remained for three months. In September they 
were marched 210 miles to Wady Haifa and 350 of them were 
handed over to the 19th Hussars. This regiment then marched 
by squadrons to Korti, 360 miles, at an average daily march of 
16 miles, the daily ration being 61b grain and 101b dhourra 
stalk. They arrived in good marching condition. They stayed 
at Korti from 20th December to 7th January, 1885, received 
8 lb. green dhourra stalk instead of dry stalk, and they 
improved during the halt. 155 were then detailed for the 
Desert Column moving via Gakdul Wells to Matammeh. On 
30th December 40 horses proceeded to Gakdul, 100 miles, 
accomplishing the distance in 63 hours. They rested there 15 
hours, and did the return journey of 100 miles, again in 63 
hours. Six of them accomplished the return journey in 46 
hours, and the last 50 miles in 7i hours. There were no 
casualties. The 155 horses, including the 40 above mentioned, 
then proceeded on the 8th January across the Bayuda Desert 
with General Sir Herbert Stewart's Column, and up to the 
20th January, exclusive of one day's halt at Gakdul, their 
career was one of 31 miles per day, with an average of 5 'to 6 lb 
of grain and 2 gallons of water daily. They were allowed to 
graze on every possible occasion, but the grass of the Bayuda 
Desert is very dry and they ate little. At times they got 
mouldy biscuits, unfit for issue to the men. When the first 
advance on Matammeh was made they marched to the Nile 
without having received a drop of water for 55 hours, and only 
one pound of grain. Some 15 or 20 horses received no water 
for 70 hours. Prom the 20th January to 14th February they 
halted at Gubat, receiving no grain, but a ration of 10 lb dry 
dhourra stalk or 12 lb of green bean stalk daily. Two days 
before their return journey they received 6 lb grain daily. 
The first 75 miles of the return journey were performed on 
4 lb grain and 3 gallons of water, after which water was stated 
to be plentiful, and 8 lb grain daily ration was supplied. 
During the period 8th January to 8th March, on which date 
they returned to Korti, the casualties were 20 killed in action, 
19 died or destroyed from Debility and exhaustion, and 5 died 
or destroyed from other causes. The weight carried was 
reduced to a minimum, but averaged about 14 stones. 


American Riding Horse. 

During the South African War, 107,511 horses were 
purchased in the United States by the British Government. 
They were mostly small — from 14-2 to 15-1, and the majority 
were for Mounted Infantry purposes, though larger ones for 
Cavalry were at first selected. I am not acquainted with the 
number purchased for Cavalry during the late War, but I 
imagine that it cannot have reached a high figure, as require- 
ments for Cavalry were comparatively few and could be met 
more or less from Home sources ; and moreover, American 
riding horses do not altogether fill the eye of our Cavalry 
purchasers. The Irish and English standard of Cavalry trooper 
is a difficult one to compete with. To our minds the American 
saddle horse is more of the light harness type, and one can 
understand this with the amount of standard-bred trotter blood 
in the country, and the preference in country districts to drive 
in a buggy rather than to ride. All the same, the small horses 
purchased by the British Government during the South 
African War, many of which were range horses from Wyoming, 
Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and from Texas, were good hardy 
animals, suitable for the purpose required, and they were well 
reported on in South Africa. The standard of our purchases, I 
may say, did not quite meet the approval of General Carter, 
then Adjutant General of the U.S. Army, a great lover and 
judge of horses, who used to pay occasional visits to our 
Eemount Commission. They were not his idea of saddle 
horses, but what was really passing through his. mind was the 
better and more expensive type, suitable for Cavalry and Special 
Eiding, two categories purchased by the American Government 
for Army purposes. Under the American Saddle Horse 
Breeders Association great endeavours are made to maintain an 
American saddle horse as a type. The progenitor of this strain 
was a thorough-bred stallion named "Denmark" foaled in 1839, 
. and brought to Kentucky. During the Civil War, stock of this 
Kentucky strain performed most wonderful marches. Starting 
his first raid on 4th July 1862 from Knoxville, and returning 
to Livingston on the 28th July, Major-General J. H. Morgan 
wdth his Cavalry covered 1000 miles, capturing seventeen towns 
•and destroying all the Government Stores. In July 1863, in 


his Ohio raid he marched from Summansville, Indiana, to 
WilHamsburg, east of Cincinnati, 94 miles in 35 hours. General 
J. E. B. Stuart, another brilliant Southern Cavalry Com- 
mander, with 1800 Cavalry and 4 pieces of Horse Artillery, 
made a rapid sweeping reconnaisance round the Northern 
Army, covering a distance of some 90 miles from Chambers- 
berg to Leesburgh in 36 hours. Forrest's expeditions, 
Grierson's operations in Mississippi, Wilson's invasions, and 
Sheridan's turning movements and pursuits, are all reminiscent 
of the wonderful prowess of American horses of Cavalry of 
those days. Whether the present day American horses with 
their greater admixture of trotting blood can achieve such 
results it is difficult to say. 

Indian Country-breds. 

On the abolition of the old Stud Department, horse-breeding 
operations were commenced in India, and they continue to be 
controlled by the Eemount Department of the Indian Army. 
The primary object of these operations was the production of 
horses of sufficient size and substance to meet the requirements of 
the Army in India, not only in Cavalry but in Artillery, and to 
render that Army independent of foreign markets. Such object 
has not been fulfilled in respect to Artillery for reasons 
previously explained, but operations have progressed with 
regard to the production of horses suitable for Cavalry, and in 
the grading up light horses and ponies of the country generally. 
English and Australian thorough-breds, and Arabs are imported 
or purchased in India for service in the horse-breeding circles 
of the Punjab, United Provinces, and Baluchistan, and the 
Government has a call on the young stock produced, purchases 
of young stock at about 18 months being made and sent to 
young stock depots for care, suitable feeding, etc., until such 
time as they of sufficient age to be issued as remounts. The 
Government undertakes also to raise and improve the best 
Indian strains of original pure Indian stock — Marwari and 
Kathiawar breeds, for service and distribution in provincial 
districts. A hmited number of Arabs also are raised for the 
same purpose. Eace meetings, with valuable 'prizes for 
country-breds, are held at various stations, and tend to give a 



fillip to production on good lines, and towards more valuable 

The Indian-bred horses which went to France with the 
Indian Cavalry Divisions consisted of (a) those belonging to 
Silladar regiments and Imperial Service Troops, and (6) those 
belonging to British Cavalry units, the latter being the best of 
their kind. The specifications in height of Indian Cavalry- 
horses are 14-2 to 15-1, and of British Cavalry 14-3 to 15-2. 

A large number of the horses of the Indian (Silladar) Cavalry 
and Imperial Service Troops were weedy, undersized animals, 
unsuitable for Cavalry service in France. Many were also 
unsound — never got beyond Marseilles, and .had to be cast. 
Under a Silladar system one cannot expect a very high-cl%ps 
trooper, but for light Indian Cavalry and service in his own 
country and in the East, the Indian , country-bred justifies his 
comparative small cost. 

With the greater outlay in respect tO' the mounting of British 
Cavalry units one naturally looks for something superlative, and 
it is questionable whether the necessary degree of excellence 
and suitability has been attained — at least to an extent justified 
by the outlay. Though the 17th Lancers reported highly on 
their animals in France, speaking generally as a class, and 
including both British and Indian Cavalry, I am distinctly of 
opinion that the Indian country-bred is not up to sufficient 
weight for service in a European country where heavy going is 
the rule. So many are weedy, leggy, and split-up, and 
moreover are excitable. A considerable number were evacuated 
for Debility, and showed a low standard of recuperative power. 
One Veterinary Hospital reported that the Indian country-bred 
was defective in his feet, and that in this class a high percentage 
of Navicular Disease existed. 

However, as the Indian Cavalry Divisions left France for 
service in Palestine, and Indian Cavalry Brigades took part in 
the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, where horses had a 
more favourable scope for real Cavalry service, it is to those 
theatres that report as to the merits of the Indian country-breds, 
and particularly of those better class of animals on the strength 
of British Cavalry units, should prove most valuable. I have 
no special information to form an opinion, but the glorious 


achievements of the Cavah-y arm in Palestine would certainly 
indicate that they had proved their merit and value up to the 
hilt. For instance, the 10th Cavalry Brigade of the 4th Indian 
Cavalry Division in Palestine accomplished a distance of 70 
miles from Selmeh orange groves to Beisan in 35 hours, 
including halts and delays. The horses of despatch riders, of 
patrols and of many of&cers covered even 80 miles on that 
occasion. The total casualties evacuated to the Mobile 
Veterinary Section at the end of the period was only 15, and 
this after a month in the Jordan Valley and night marches 
aggregating 65 miles to the point of concentration. It is a 
performance which leaves no doubt as to the merit and fitness 


It is very imporrant, in view of horse-breeding operations in 
India, that a more precise account of the better class of 
country-breds on the strength of British Cavalry regiments in 
war should be furnished, and a relative comparison drawn 
between them and those imported from Australia. No doubt 
in course of time this will be done. It is not definitely known 
how many actually participated in War, but the following table 
shows the number present with British units immediately prior 
to departure overseas :- 








1st Dragoon Guards 




7th „ „ 



6th Inniskilling Drgs. 




7th Hussars 









13th „ 




14th „ 




17th Lancers 







Since my return to India I have seen a good many Infantry 
officers' country-bred chargers, 14-1 to 14-3, both at the Front 
in Frontier Expeditions, and amongst those proceeding overseas 
to Mesopotamia as remounts, and without question they are of 
real merit. 






























































MULES. 135 

Chapter VI— MULES. 

In animal kind, the hero of the late World's War — as in all 
other Wars in which he has participated, that paragon of 
excellence, the mule, finds the premier place. He stands out 
prominently as a first class war animal, and under all circum- 
stances, in all climates or situations, whether amongst the mud 
of France, in the deserts of Egypt, on the plains of India, or 
on the hill-tops of the Himalayas, in burning heat or icy snow, 
his achievements have been marvellous. He is as indispensable 
to War as a Commander of the Forces, and no history of War 
is complete without him. Any demerits he may possess are 
attributable to a psychology peculiarly his own, but his merits 
are double distilled, and little more remains to be said on that 

There are, however, so many different breeds, types, and sizes 
of mules, and the military uses to which they are put are so 
varied, that it is necessary to dilate on them severally. 

Specifications as to height and substance vary according to 
the theatre of war and for the purpose required, but under 
British requirements the- following standards were commonly 
adopted during the war : — 

Heavy Draught Mules. Up to 16-2 or even 16-3. 

Weight about 1300 lb. 

Light Draught Mules. 15-0 to 15-3. „ „ 11001b. 

Pack Transport. 14-1 to 15-0. 

Indian specifications are somewhat different to these, and are 
roughly as follows : — 

Light Draught Mules. Same as light draught horses. 

Ordnance Mules (Mountain Artillery). 13-2 to 14-1. 

Equipment Mules. 13-0 to 14-0. 

Transport, draught and pack. 12-1 to 13-3. 

American Mules. 

Of all countries in the world, none can surpass the United 
States of America for the production of mules, nor compete 
with it in general resources. The mule population of the States 
amounts to nearly 3,000,000, and the fountain never seems to 


run dry. During the South African War, the British Govern- 
ment purchased 80,624, and though I have no actual figures to 
guide me, I should say purchases during the late War amounted 
to considerably over a quarter of a million. The strength 
of mules in the British Expeditionary Force, France, alone 
mounted to roughly 90,000. 

All sorts and sizes of mules are bred in the United States, 
from the small miner 12-3 or 13-0 to the magnificent sugar mule 
16-2 and over. It pays better to breed a mule than a horse, and 
the market is for mining, lumber trade, and the cotton and 
sugar industries of the South. The real home of the American 
mule, and especially the large mule, is Missouri, though lighter 
mules are raised in Texas. If the magic names of Lathrop, 
Missouri and Kansas City are vi^hispered into the long ear of an 
American mule he will immediately start a conversation about 
his old home, blue grass, Indian corfi shucks and stover, his fine 
big naother, his French and Spanish ancestry on his father's 
side, and he will air his views on stock-yards and " niggers " 
generally. The American mule is wonderfully docile, and to 
my mind quite the most handsome creature of the genus 
Bquidae, and loveable withal. His power is best appreciated 
by standing close up to him : at a distance he may look mean. 

As a rider, a mule is of little value, a supreme will and an 
iron mouth, as a rule, prove the drawback. 

Mr. Malcolm Moncrieffe of Wyoming, through whom we 
purchased a large number of horses during the Boer War, used 
to hunt a St. Louis mule in England. He was not equal to 
taking a line of his own but he followed a lead all right. Mr. 
Moncrieffe's only objection was that he never could talk to his 
friends, as the aristocratic hunter was wont to turn up his nose 
and snort at the plebeian and curious hybrid. The foreman of 
a depot in the United States speaking, of a 14 hands mule, 
'' Jack," which I sometimes rode, said to me on one occasion : 
" That mule will give you a fall some day. I have never known 
a mule that did not give a man a fall sometirne." " Jack " put 
me into a barbed wire fence most perfectly. He could round 
up stock, and gallop like smoke in the company of horses, 
but by himself he lapsed into mulish ways. Vain as a peacock 
with his tail trimmed in the American fashion, a white polo 

MULES. 137 

lock on his mane — which he knew he possessed, full of spirits 
and with affection like that of a dog, crying his heart out in the 
corner of a corral when the time came for his shipment to 
South Africa, summed up the nature of that handsome little 
fellow — and of mules in general. Their happy nature goes a 
long way towards their success. They have a habit of worming 
their way into the hearts of our soldiers, and very soon friendly 
relations are established that work for the common good. Their 
endurance, their comparative freedom from sickness, their 
pluck and stout heartedness when properly treated, their ability 
to perform work under adverse circumstances and when 
short commons are necessitated, are their usual attributes ; and 
their employment in war is a great economic factor. These 
remarks stand for all mules, whether American or otherwise. 

The majority of American mules employed in the various 
Theatres of War were for light draught purposes, supplying 
the place of light draught horses in Ammunition Columns, etc., 
of Formations, and receiving the same rations as light draught 
horses. To the latter factor the superiority of the mule over the 
light draught horse is greatly ascribed. If well fed, he thrives 
on work, and in times of idleness he will quickly get fat. As an 
instance of ability to stand the vicissitudes of campaign I will 
quote again the Somme operations in 1916. This offensive 
period resulted in 16,074 Debility (poor condition) cases evacua- 
ted to Veterinary Hospitals on Lines of Communications, of 
which total only 404 were mules. The percentage of inefficiency 
was 4"42 for horses and '61 for mules ; horses suffered there- 
fore seven times more than mules. During the winter seasons 
they gave us far less trouble than horses (1 to 3, about) from skin 
disease, and Eespiratory disease was practically nil. These are 
very strong arguments in favour of the mule. I call to mind 
the limbered General Service Wagon mules of the 17th Lancers 
going through the streets of Abbeville on a snowy day. They 
were pictures of health, and the bloom of their coats shone in 
spite of the snow. It is only one instance of many, and it 
made one feel proud to belong to our Army. 

The pack mules of Infantry and Signals, smaller in height, 
were also very good. Cavalry, for their Machine guns, by reason 
of more rapid movement, have pack horses. 


Mountain Artillery of India. 

The mules of Mountain Artillery in India, both British and 
Indian Batteries, deserve special mention. They seldom ail 
anything, and of all units in the Indian Army they give the 
least trouble to Veterinary Service both in peace and war. 
They are of a superior class, sturdy and stout, 13-2 to 14-1, with 
good straight backs — an essential feature of a pack mule. They 
are household words in a matter of condition and fitness, and 
they have the further merit of being unshod, for the reason that 
they are all the more able to get better foot-hold in ascending the 
mountains. They are a Cosmopolitan assembly, with numbers 
hailing from the United States, Argentine, China, Cyprus, and 
the Punjab with American ancestry. I remember the first ship- 
ment of North American mules (brand G.H.) purchased at 
Lathrop, Missouri, by Major Gough in 1902 from Messrs. 
Guyton and Harrington. They were perfection in mule kind. 
Mr. Guyton expressly desired Major Gough to select the very 
best he could find, to let the Indian Government, as he said, see 
what the United States and his firm could produce. I daresay 
some of these original G.H. mules are still in existence. They 
were very highly appreciated. 

Indian Transport Mules. 

Indian Transport is Pack and Draught, the mules ranging up 
to 13-3 ; the pack load is 160 lb and the draught a load of 10 
maunds or 800 lb. for a pair of mules in an A.T. Cart. Mules 
are either Argentine, Chinese, or Country-bred. The record, of 
the Transport mule of India in War is now remarkably good, 
inefficiency in recent Frontier expeditions being usually about 
2' 6 per cent, or 3 per cent. — a much improved state of affairs 
from campaigns of former days in which sore-backs abounded. 

Perhaps the most trying circumstances under which Indian 
Transport animals have laboured during Indian expeditions was 
the Tibet mission of 1904, and the merit of the mules which 
took part is well illustrated in the Veterinary Eeport of that 
Mission. The Senior Veterinary Officer of the Mission remark- 
ed as follows : — 

" I cannot speak too highly of the Mule Corps engaged in 
Tibet. They did rough work daily over snow, ice, etc., and in 
all sorts of weather, including frost to the extent of 57 degrees. 


J o 


s 3 









MULES. 139 

There is apparent!}' no hardship that this animal cannot endure 
when well looked after. I should like to mention the excellent 
work done by the Argentine mules of the 13th Transport Corps, 
and their condition under hard work. To my mind, if such 
hardy, capable animals can be procured for transport purposes, 
the sooner we seek them in Argentine districts the better. 
Our mules passed through snow, ice and rain, and though 
crossing mountains close on 17,000 ft. very few were lost from 
heart failure." 

* " All the mules on the advance were unshod, and as long as 
their feet were kept trimmed all went well : there were few 
cases of lanaeness." 

Mules in recent frontier expeditions also have not been shod. 

It will be noted that the small Argentine mule is very 
favourably mentioned in the above report. It is a very far cry 
from South America to the high plateaux of Tibet, and the 
merit of the animal is therefore the greater. The Chinese 
mule, though not so handsome as the Argentine, is a very 
strong, stout, hardy mule, with a reputation that is hard to beat. 
A considerable number were captured and purchased by the 
China Expeditionary Force in 1900-0] and did so well, particu- 
larly in draught in the "Pekin Carts," that China has been 
greatly drawn on by the Indian Government for small mules 
ever since. The country has also some very fine larger mules, 
15 hands and over, which are used for riding, and by the 
wealthy Chinese for their Pekin carts. The Indian country- 
bred, under good feeding and care, has also done his part well 
in many theatres of War. 

The little Abyssinian mule, a game fellow, went through the 
Somaliland Expedition of 1904 in pack work with flying colours. 

The South African mule, as a draught animal, finds great 
favour in his own country, and a shipment of 260 to India, for 
Mountain Artillery, in 1892, was most satisfactory. 

Equipment Mules. 

The equipment mules of Battalions, Pioneers, and those of 
Sappers and Miners are of the same strains previously 
mention^ed. They are slightly bigger and better than Transport, 
and their record is all that could be desired. 

Long may we have mules to help us to fight our battles. 


Chapter VII— DONKEYS. 

I have a sneaking regard for donkeys in warfare. The 
French Armies used a considerable number of them for packing 
up ammunition to their troops in the Line during the late War. 
They were driven across country in mobs of about twenty, and 
were able to pick their way round the shell holes. 

If properly looked after, they are remarkably free from disease 
and give Veterinary Service very little concern. The appor- 
tioned load according to Transport Tables is 1^ maunds (1201b). 
It is rather an inconvenient amount, as so many of the items for 
Transport are arranged or packed by maund weights. A better 
pack-weight would be two maunds — one maund each side, and 
only donkeys that are equal to that weight should be employed. 

In the' Tirah Expedition of 1897-98 there were 8297 
Government donkeys and 5567 hired donkeys employed. The 
weight carried was 2 maunds. They maintained their condition 
remarkably well, and the hired animals. were even better than 
those of Government. In the Chitral Expedition of 1895 many 
were employed, and they were well able to negotiate a two 
maund load on the level, but somewhat failed in scrambling 
over rocks under that load. It is all a matter of a suitable 
saddle and proper adjustment of loads, which for small animals 
should not be of a bulky nature. Moreover, work in short 
stages, especially in hilly countries, gives the best results. 
During my frequent visits to the Frontiers recently, I have 
noticed lots of very good donkeys that I am sure are equal to a 
two maund load if properly fed and driven along quietly. One 
man to twenty donkeys would be economical transport, and it 
goes without saying that they would require constant inspection 
to ensure that their backs were free from injury, and that a 
suitable ration should be assured to them. For road making 
and mending, carrying stones and earth, they fill a most useful 

The Tibetan donkey, used during the Mission, was reported 
on as a wonderful animal for his size, and a load of two maunds 
was an easy task. On the other hand the Somali donkey, 
which is a sturdy animal with a good back, was apparently 

PONIES. 141 

equal to only one maund in most cases when employed during 
the operations in that country in 1903. A large number was 
employed during the Nile Expedition of 1884-85. They were 
mostly hired, and had no disease. 

The record of donkeys in the Kohat-Kurram Force of 1879-80 
was bad, for the reason that so many of the animals were very 
young, or old and unfit ; there was no sort of proper selection^ 

Very large numbers of donkeys are used for transport 
purposes in Persia. In South West Persia alone there are 
probably 200,000. The Persian donkey is small, but strong 
and enduring, and he is equal to a load of 130 to 200 lb. The 
practice of Local Transport Companies is to shoe them with a 
broad webbed shoe for work over the rocky road from Bandar 
Abbas into the interior. 

Afghanistan also is well endowed with an exceptionally hardy 
donkey, something of the same nature as our frontier animals. 

Chapter VIII— PONIES. 

The knight of old, when on march route, bestrode his palfrey 
for his greater comfort ; the present day officer is permitted to 
include his polo pony as a charger for practically the same 
reason. Olficers of Services and Departments, not required to 
do fast work, are supplied with small horses and ponies as their 
chargers ; and the riding animals of units of Transport and 
Mountain Artillery in India are ponies ranging from 13-3 to 
14-2. They are universally satisfactory in war for the reasons 
that they require a lesser ration than horses ; they are, as a rule, 
easier and more comfortoble to ride, especially for the inex- 
perienced ; and if the equilibrium of the rider suffers by default,, 
mother earth is somewhat nearer. Individual ponies as riders 
have been made great use of during the late War with marked 
success. They were used considerably for Mounted Infantry 
purposes during the War in South Africa, and without question 
certain classes of them performed very satisfactory work. The 
Cape Colony and Free State pony for instance, native to the 
country, was quite able to keep on his legs and cover long 


•distances. Plumer's Ehodesia Eegiment, in March 1900, 
accomplished a distance of 70 miles in 26 hours and not a single 
man or animal dropped out. On the 22nd January 1879 a 
strong body of motmted volunteers under Lieut. -Colonel 
Eedvers H. Buller, of the Bechuanaland Field Force, between 
1 a.m. and 11 p.m., that is in 22 hours, covered a distance of 
70 miles over rough hilly country, the average height of the 
animals being 14-2 to 14-3. The small Basuto pony in those 
regions is renovs^ned for his stamina. 

A number of Khirgiz ponies from Asiatic Russia found their 
wa,j to the South African War, and the history of the journey 
of these hardy, short legged, straight backed, broad quartered 
small animals (seldom over 14 hands) is most interesting. Six 
or eight days were occupied in journeying by road from their 
place of origin to Orenburg, where they were entrained to a 
station on the Eiver Volga (either Samara or Saratov), then 
placed in open boats and floated down the Volga for four to 
seven days to Tzaritzan, thence by rail to Fiume ; and of all the 
Eussian cobs they presented themselves for purchase in the 
best condition. They had come 3000 miles and travelled for 
one month to join His Majesty's Forces, and for subsequent 
shipment from the Port of Fiume to South Africa. 

Indian Transport Ponies. 

In addition to the riding ponies above-mentioned, the Indian 
Army maintains a number of pack and draught ponies, organ- 
ised, as in the case of mules, into Corps. The height of these 
animals is from 13-0 to 18-3. 

India is essentially a country of ponies and small animals, 
and though there is a considerable number of indifferent speci- 
mens, the resources of the country must be made use of to the 
best advantage. 

For pack purposes the Indian pony is not an unmixed bless- 
ing, and his history in War is far from satisfactory. He has 
not the stamina of the mule, is more subject to debility, and is 
much more prone to sore back. He is better placed in draught, 
and when suitably selected and properly looked after, he proves 
satisfactory in this sphere. A few extracts from the Veterinary 
Eeports of Expeditionary Forces will make this clear. 

PONIES. 143 

KoHAT-KuRRAM, 1879-80. " The animals were not on the 
whole satisfactory. Every description of pony was sent to the 
Force, from the diminutive grass cutter's tattu, flat sided, 
narrow chested, rubbing his hocks together, to the big ragged, 
sharp spined, high withered ekka pony. They had not the same 
digestive powers as mules — required more attention in the 
preparation of their grain and selection of fodder, and their 
different shaped backs demanded greater care in the fitting of 
pack saddles. Compact, round barrelled animals kept their 
condition and did well, a number of small ones from the 
Bombay Presidency performed excellent service." 

Chitral Eblibp Force, 1895. " Ponies did not do well, 
excepting those of Jeypore State Transport. They were used 
as draught from Nowshera to Durgai, and were sent as pack 
over the Malakand. They failed as pack over the rough and 
difficult roads." 

TiEAH Expeditionary Force 1897-98. " There were 10707 
Government ponies employed, and report states that they were 
not as satisfactory or efficient as they might have been, two 
reasons being that they were physically unfitted for army pack 
animals, also that they fell away after purchase. Hired ponies 
did better, the reason being that owners looked after them well. 
Of the Jeypor and Gwalior Transport Trains, report again states 
that "no ponies could have done better or worked harder than 
did the ponies of these two trains." They were properly 
■organized, their equipment was perfect, -and they worked both 
as pack and draught. 

The Kashmir ponies with their own Sunka equipment also 
did good work, and 400 of them were eventually purchased by 

They were accustomed to Hill work and it is therefore unfair 
to compare them with Plains ponies. 

Tibet Mission 1904. ■' Four Ekka trains were organised, 
the ponies being drawn from various parts of India. They 
were a very mixed lot, and suffered severely from excessive 
cold, many died, and it was only by building high turf walls 
.that mortality was reduced. 


The Tibet and Kashmir Pony Corps were put to great trials 
in long marches with minimum quantities of food (3 lb grain 
per day) and extremely severe weather, and a large number 
died (592 died and 211 destroyed) in the two Corps. It was 
reported that no careful selection could have been made in 
these Corps. 

The Tibet pony proper, as obtained in Central Tibet, was 
most useful, and the First Mounted ; Infantry, commanded by 
Captain Ottley, was almost entirely composed of these animals. 
Between 12-2 and 13-3 hands, big of bone for their size, not by 
any means handsome, and with an enormous coat of hair, they 
carried their 14 stones day after day over all sorts of ground 
in splendid style." 


Somali pony An extraordinarily sound little animal, capable 
of travelling great distances on little food and 
' no water. 

Arab Adapts itself quickly to the requirements of 

the country. 

South African 

About equally hardy, though they suffer more 
from want of water that the Somali or Arab. 

Qiinese [Quite unable to stand hard trekking in Somali- 

Abyssinian j l^^*^- 

China Expeditionary. Force, 1900-01. " The Mongolian 
pony is a hard, sturdy, short-legged animal, from 12-0 to 13-3. 
A fair number was bought or captured by the Force. They 
were found to be much more suitable for draught than pack> 
their conformation ill-adapted to our pack equipment, and 
sore-backs resulted. They were also found difficult to keep in 
condition, and were reported as badly-mouthed, sulky, ill- 
tempered, and difficult to manage except by Chinese, who are 
used to them. The mares are much used for the breeding of 
mules, which, as I have previously remarked, are a much better 
and more suitable product for military purposes. 

PONIES. 145 

Eecent Expeditions, North-Western Frontier Force, 
Waziristan, etc. The records of recent expeditions show a 
marked improvement, not only in the quality of the Indian 
country ponies employed, but in their work generally. Even 
then they have not shown the same degree of efficiency as mules. 
The draught pony corps of N.W. Frontier Force up the Khyber 
fell off in condition during the extreme heat of June and July 
1919, and their feet were somewhat neglected in shoeing. Mules 
have a distinct advantage in their ability to perform work 
unshod. Excepting perhaps in wet weather, when maceration 
of the horn is more likely, many country-bred ponies also could 
go without shoes — at least hind shoes. One unit in Waziristan 
did so quite successfully. The draught ponies of the Force in 
Waziristan, during a less exhausting season, performed very 
satisfactory Work and were in very good order. The most cases 
of sore-backs were in Pack Pony Corps, this class of ailment 
being much less in mules. 

There is no doubt that it is much more difficult to maintain 
the utility of pony corps than mule corps, and serviceability of 
the former therefore resolves itself into more careful animal 
management, including those most necessary items, adequacy 
of ration and a proper water discipline, which are so apt to be 
at fault in war. When these are in force, and suitable ponies 
selected for the purposes required, there is no reason to suppose 
that pony transport will be otherwise than efficient. Indian 
country-bred ponies are more suitable for draught, but the 
necessity for pack in the frontier regions must always be borne 
in mind, and animals suitable for the dual purpose selected. 


Chaptbe IX.— bullocks. 

Bullocks are unsatisfactory war animals. They are of no use 
for the transport of fighting formations, and their only place is 
for transport service on Lines of Communications. In India 
their great drawback — and it is a very serious one, is their 
proneness to the dire contagious diseases which are extant in 
that country. It has been the experience of all campaigns in 
India that within a very short time after mobilization either 
Einderpest or Foot-and-Mouth Disease, or both together, pre- 
sent themselves, crippling all useful service and creating untold 
inconvenience. There is no escape from these two diseases. 
They are, like the poor, always with us. I have fully remarked 
on them in a previous section, " Wastage of Animals in War," 
and further reference is unnecessary. One feels sorry for the 
old " Bile of India," but where reliability is concerned, it must 
be ruled out. The transport bullock of the present day, both 
Siege Train and Army Transport, is not of the same excellent 
standard that existed when I first made his acquaintance 30 
years ago. In ten years I see a vast difference — and it is only 
to be expected when the production of stock in India, and 
particularly of good stock, is pushed into the back-ground by 
the more profitable and increasingly valuable crops of cereals 
and cotton. 

Were it not for his serious contagious diseases and the 
difficulty of controlling their spread under circumstances of 
movement, I should advance him in the scale of military utility ; 
for a pair of good bullocks are surprisingly equal to the haulage 
of heavy loads, considerably more than the allotted army load 
of 10 to 12 maunds (800 to 960 lb) provided the pace is slow, the 
stages are short, diet is sufficient (it usually is for Bullocks) and 
rest permits the act of rumination. He is certainly a willing 
slave, and he is not very much impressed with fine ideas about 
harsh treatment. His resistance to disease is considerably 
influenced by breed and locality. For instance, Southern India 
animals, e.g. the Mysore, are more readily attacked by Einder- 
pest, and contract the disease in more virulent form than 

Bullock Transport in Waziristan Field Force. 

Showing good condition of Camels under " Stall Feeding,' 
IN Waziristan Field Force. 


Northern Bullocks of the United Provinces and Punjab, whence 
the majority of our Army Bullocks are drawn. 

In days gone by, heavy artillery batteries employed Bullocks 
of the Siege Train Class for the Wagons, and from an animal 
management point they were perfect. 

Putting aside the matter of contagious ailments, which consti- 
tute the most serious obstacle for the successful employment of 
bullocks in war, and probably let one down at the very moment 
when there should be no hitch in proceedings, I have gone 
carefully into all the records and Veterinary reports of the 
various Expeditions on the Frontier, and there is, after all, 
something to be said in their favour. I take little notice of the 
Kohat-Kurram Force of 1879-80, as the bullocks on that 
occasion, which were considerable, would appear to have 
included a large proportion of physically unfit animals of a 
type unsuitable for pack work, and moreover one cannot blame 
animals from suffering terribly from sore-backs when no proper 
equipment was at first in use. It is inviting disaster to sling 
loads by ropes over a pad and folded jhool without a soonka. 

The Inspecting Veterinary Officer of the Chitral Belief Force, 
in spite of 1290 having died from Rinderpest out of 6363 hired 
pack Bullocks, and 3675 cases of Foot-and-Mouth Disease, 
could still say " Notwithstanding all, by dint of unceasing 
inspections, withdrawals, and isolations, the bullock pack 
transport kept on moving, and did some of the best work on 
the campaign." 

With 4413 Government, and 9314 Hired Bullocks, and with 
one outbreak of Rinderpest and two outbreaks of Foot-and- 
Mouth Disease, the Inspecting Veterinary Officer of the Tirah 
Expeditionary Force reported that " There were no faults to be 
found with the bullocks .... On the whole they were a 
good lot." They were only used for wheeled transport; no 

Again, on the Tibet Mission, after the stamping out of 
Rinderpest and Foot-and-Mouth Disease. " The Bullock Cart 
Train, the first and second Bullock Pack Corps did excellent 
work between Silliguri, Guntak and Lingtam for the greater 
part of the expedition, but long days and heavy roads told in 


the long run, and many were returned to India, while others, 
unsuitable for cantonments, were sold." 

During the recent Frontier Expeditions Bullock Corps were 
severely hit by these two diseases, and by occasional heat 
exhaustion, chiefly at the outset ; but subsequent proceedings 
were satisfactory and the animals maintained a good condition. 
It is anticipated that Einderpest will be excluded from military 
bullocks in future by a process of inoculation rendering them 
durably or permanently immune before they go on Service, but 
we shall have to rely on the old methods of isolation against 
Foot-and-Mouth Disease, as even previous attacks convey only 
a short lived immunity. 

Bullock Transport was greatly in vogue in the South African 
War, spans of 12 and 16 bullocks in heavy wagons being the 
method of employment. It was quite satisfactory for slow 
moving troops, but here again a contagious disease was 
encountered — Pleuro-pneumonia Contagiosa, against which 
inoculation was practised with success. 

In closing this section I should like to remark on the great 
boon which has been conferred on the Indian Army in War on 
the Frontiers by the establishment of Dairies, the majority of 
the animals being buffaloes. There is great merit in the 
procedure, and it is just as easy to get these animals up near 
the front as it is meat on hoof. Our troops in Fraece also 
owned occasional cows, and Motor Horse Ambulances belonging 
to Veterinary Service offered no objections to their transport 
from place to place, in fact there was no reason why the 
procedure should not have been made more general, particularly 
for the benefit of Casualty Clearing Stations. 

YAKS. 149 

Chapter X— YAKS. 

The Tibet Mission of 1904 had three Yak Corps of approxi- 
mately one thousand Yaks each, and only 70 survived. Anthrax. 
Rinderpest, Pleuro- pneumonia, Foot - and - Mouth Disease, 
Debility consequent on work in too low an altitude, and bolting 
into the jungle, disposed of the remaindsr. A pure Yak (one- 
third of them only were pure bred, the rest being Zooms, or 
half-breds) cannot live in low regions. Tibetans seldom ask 
them to go below 8000 feet. They were down to 2300 feet at 
times, and under such circumstances a pure yak will pant, and 
lie down every few yards, and rapid emaciation ensues. 

Yaks are useless as transport animals. They can only travel 
from six to eight miles per day, require two days a week rest, 
and an enormous amount of grazing. Two maunds is all that 
a yak can carry, and if pushed beyond his pace he lies down 
and sulks. His habits are distinctly lazy, but when compelled 
to go he is sure of foot, and can negotiate the roughest cliffs 

Chapter XI— CAMELS. 

Cyrus the Great of Persia (559 B.C.) had great ideas of 
Tactics. At the battle of Thymbra, fearing the superiority of 
the Cavalry of Croesus, which had a reputation for the skilful 
use of the long lance and for the adroitness with which they 
managed their horses, he mounted his Cavalrymen on his 
baggage camels, and placed them in the first line. The horses 
of the Lydian Cavalry were so alarmed at the appearance and 
smell of the camels that they recoiled in confusion, and although 
the Lydians dismounted and engaged the Infantry of Croesus, 
they were defeated. 

The above is certainly a unique utilisation of the camel, and 
it is distinctly worthy of special record in the merits of that 

The uses to which camels are put in the Army relate chiefly 
to riding, and pack transport. On certain occasions they have 


been applied to Artillery draught, and in certain districts, as in 
Karachi and Western India, it is no uncommon sight to see 
them yoked to low wheeled carts, performing carrying duty. 
Napoleon employed them for mounted infantry purposes in 
Egypt and Palestine, Napier in India, and we ourselves in 
Egypt, with marked success in properly organised Corps for 
mounted infantry purposes. In Persia, in early times, they 
were used for light Artillery (Zemboureks) a small gun being 
mounted on a wooden saddle. 

Eiding camels are quite distinct animals, differing from 
baggage camels as race horses do from other breeds of horses. 
There are certain breeds that are specially suitable for riding 
purposes — the Bikanir and Eajputana, famous all over India for 
their swiftness, the Hejeen of Arabia (Oman), and the Bishareen 
of the Soudan. 

The paces of riding camels are the amble and trot, the former 
being 4 to 4^ miles an hour, and the latter 7 to 8 miles an 
hour. The gallop is seldom required, and is very unpleasant. 
Instances are quoted of long distances covered, such as 100 
miles in 24 hours. Fortune mentions an Arabian camel having 
accomplished 225 miles in 28 hours, and General Chesney 
crossed from Basra to Damascus, a distance of 958^ miles, in 
19 days, a daily rate of 50 miles. The capability of a body of 
riding camels, each with a man and his kit, weighing in all 
400 lb, nevertheless must not be considered to exceed 25 miles 
a day, with a halt once a week. 

The real importance of camels from a military standpoint is, 
however, as baggage or pack transport animals, and it is in this 
respect that my remarks will specially apply. Questions of 
structural peculiarities, constitution, idiosyncrasy, management, 
disease, are common to all breeds and classes. 

There is no more useful animal in existence than the baggage 
camel, and for military purposes under certain circumstances 
he is absolutely indispensable. His merits are that he can, as 
as an individual, carry heavier loads than other transport 
animals, perform work under circumstances or situations 
unsuitable for other forms of transport, and his cost on purchase 
and for maintenance, on their face values, is reasonable. His 
temperament is peculiar at times, due in a greaf measure to 

CAMELS. 151 

the fact that he is a male living in a community of males and 
permitting his passions to dominate him, particularly during 
the Musth season. Were he made neuter, he would be just as 
useful for military service, as has been proved, and even dachis 
would be able to enjoy his society without any display of 
unseeiningly behaviour. The more one is acquainted with him, 
the more his merits appeal to one ; and I know no animal that 
repays the kindness and considerate care bestowed on him by 
his attendants and supervisors as he does. It is just this 
attention which makes all the difference to him as a serviceable 
animal. Were I a young man at the beginning of my career in 
the Army, there is nothing I would like better than to have the 
command of one or more Camel Corps, to prove the utility of 
camels to the highest degree by rational treatment, and to 
remove them from that Slough of Despond into which the 
History of Wars clearly shows they have been plunged. It is, 
I think, in many cases idle to talk about demerits of this animal. 
Personally I do not altogether acknowledge them, as inefficiency 
is not in the main inherent in the animal itself, but in point of 
fact is the outcome of ignorance of animal function, injudicious 
management, and circumstances inseparable from the conduct 
of war. 

Reading' history of animals in war, one stands appalled at the 
dead wastage of camels ; and if my remarks are strong, they are 
only made so in the hope that the slate may be washed clean, 
and that our future figures entered thereon may show better 
reading. In my previous section entitled " Wastage of Animals 
in War," I showed the enormous losses in camels that had been 
experienced in various campaigns, and it is perhaps unnecessary 
to refer to them again. At the same time it is important to 
show that the virtues possessed by camels have been played 
with, and that a misunderstanding of their nature and capacity 
for work as animal machines lies to a very great extent at the 
root of their shortcomings. 

It is very commonly supposed that a Camel is possessed of 
phenomenal endurance, to fit in with which he is specially 
endowed with a series of water cisterns in his stomach, and a 
hump as a food store. In other words he carries his rations in 


(not on) his person — is an expense store in himself, and proof 
against privation. The idea has been dwelt on by many writers 
to a fanciful extent. He is presumed to have the courage of a 
stoic, yet without intelligence, and he drops down dead. 

Was there ever any greater fallacy ? The capacity of the so- 
called cisterns is a quart on the right side of the stomach and 
about a gallon on the left side. The contents are a mixture of 
food, water, and mucus. The hump consists largely of adipose 
tissue, and though its size and firmness are indications of health, 
and it will waste with privation, it is no more of a larder than 
the fat on one's own body. Apart from disease, to which I will 
presently refer, the stoic dies from exhaustion induced by 
privation of food and water; and it is the intelligence of the 
human being who is constituted his mentor that is at fault — 
not the camel's. Until this is realized, grave loss of camels will 
result. No human, animal, or mechanical engine can perform 
work without fuel and water. It is a very elementary proposi- 
tion, and it is responsible for a large amount of the demerits 
ascribed to camel kind, notably disease, death without apparent 
cause, heat apoplexy or exhaustion, inability to stand climatic 
changes, etc. 

The Afghan War of 1878-80 cost us close on 60,000 camels 
(including desertions) and the causes of such heavy wastage 
were commonly ascribed to the following : — 

(i) " Scarcity and indifference of food." 

(ii) "The great strain thrown on the animals at the com- 
mencement of the campaign." 

(iii) " The employment of a large number of camels only 
accustomed to the plains of India." 

(iv) "The severe weather of the winter and early spring." 
(v) " The necessity of employing the animals during a season 
of the year when at ordinary times they suffer peren- 
nially and are uniformly given rest." 

(vi) "The uselessness and ignorance of the men sent as 
attendants on Government camels." 

I wish specially to draw attention to the factors of Food and 
Man, and particularly to the Food, which was not only scarce 

CAMELS. 153 

but indifferent in quantity. In the old Kabul papers I find the 
following scale laid down : — 

Camels on command 3 seers Barley ^ 10 seers Bhoosa or 
,, in cantonments li „ „ I equivalent in cost of 

„ on fatigue duty 2 „ „ J any other fodder. 

„ at graze 1 „ „ No Bhoosa 

The amount of Barley (a very inferior grain to the Gram of 
India for working ruminants) cannot be considered excessive. 
I find no reference in any report to Bhoosa, but considerable 
stress is laid on the inability to obtain grazing, and what 
grazing existed was not of a kind the animals were accustomed 
to. Grazing has always been the basis of Camel feeding 
in every Camel country, and the estimated time per day to 
obtain a sufficiency of aliment is six hours. "What possible 
grazing is procurable at all seasons of the year amongst the 
rocks and mountains of the North-West Frontiers? And what 
time can be devoted to grazing, even if the military situation 
permits of it, is difficult to imagine. It is quite an impracticable 
idea on Service. The wretched animal has to fall back on his 
grain ration, administered by men tired out with marching, and 
he is lucky if he gets a portion of his scheduled amount. It is 
a picture that is applicable to any theatre of War. 

The Eeport above mentioned goes on to say : — 

" It is a well known fact that no amount of grain will serve 
to sustain Camels that do not get their necessary amount of 
grazing. For military reasons it was deemed desirable that the 
troops should push to the Front in November 1878 without 
halting. The marches were long and the roads indifferent. The 
baggage animals often came in at 5 a.m. having marched from 
8 o'clock the previous morning and again were on the move by 
10 a.m., so that the animals had tipie neither for grazing nor 

It is an old story, carrying profound lessons. Experience is 
often dearly bought, and the lessons should therefore be the 
more appreciated. 

Thank goodness we have broken a,way from many old ideas 
of darkness and empiricism in regard to the management under 
war conditions of this indispensable animal of transport. There 
still, however, remains a lot to be done to put him on a better 


plane of health, efficiency, and merit generally. Officers and 
men 'know him now more intimately, and the personal factor of 
man makes for his greater usefulness. Stall-feeding in practic- 
ally the same manner as in other military animals has done 
wonders in the reduction of the disease Surra, as well as adding 
to his increased power for work. We have progressed very 
considerably in recent times, as the records of sickness and 
inefficiency, and more especially the condition and appearance 
of our service camels, distinctly and surprisingly show. Un- 
fortunately, with work up the river beds in Waziristan during 
the past hot weather there has been an increase of Surra over 
the past year, from the prevalence of biting flies. Deaths from 
heat exhaustion, cases of night blindness, and a considerable 
number of sore-feet from traversing river beds too, have sent 
up inefficiency. Camels' feet were never intended for water ; 
and in normal times it is the wise custom to refrain from work 
in the middle of the day ; indeed owners of camels do not, as a 
rule, work them from the middle of May to 1st October. If 
operations are to continue in these regions in future years it 
would seem that the Camel would have to be equipped with 
goloshes on his feet, goggles on his eyes, and a Dolly Varden 
hat on the top of his head. Having a supercilious demeanour 
at any time, he would look a real gem so attired, and he would 
prove a fortune for the " Movies." 

The carrying power of a camel depends on the breed, the 
climate in which he is employed, and the distance to be tra- 
versed. The usual load of an Indian Camel is 5 maunds or 
400 lb. e.g. five bales of Bhoosa — two oh each side and one on 
the top. An equal number on each side and none on the top, 
say three bales of bhoosa on each side, or a total of 480 lb, is a 
much better balanced load, and the removal of any article from 
the top has saved many hump-galls. Moreover, ability to carry 
extra work on occasion is a direct return for the good food and 
attention which have been bestowed on the animal. In Algeria, 
Morocco, Tunis and Tripoli the load is from 300 to 400 lb, in 
Egypt from 350 to 5501b, in Syria, Asia Minor, Persia and 
Tartary 560 to 600 lb. Civilian Camels engaged on local duty 
at present in the Waziristan Force at Dera Ismail Khan are 










































































CAMELS. 155 

carrying from 700 to 1200 lb, twelve bales of Bhoosa (960 lb> 
being a common load. 

With regard to the merits of different breeds of Camels; 
dm:ing the Afghan War of 1878-80 the plains camels were 
preferable for service on the hotter or Indian side, but were 
reported on as useless for the higher, colder regions. Of the 
plains camels those of Bikanir were superior to the Punjab, and 
the latter better than the Sind. Of the Punjab camels the best 
were obtained from Eawalpindi. 

The Salt Eange Camels with Corps at present in Waziristan 
are in excellent order. A consignment of beautiful Persian 
camels obtained last year nearly all died during the heat of 
summer in Waziristan. 

In the Nile Expedition of 1884-85, the Delta camel of Egypt, 
a large, heavy, powerful animal, used for carrying loads on the 
cultivated lands of the Delta, was at first thought unsuitable for 
the Desert, but events proved him to be most satisfactory, and 
he withstood the desert marching nearly, if not equally as well 
as other breeds. A Battery of Artillery with Delta camels 
marched the whole way from Cairo to Matammeh across the 
Bayuda Desert. 

Crossed Delta and Desert are useful animals. The Bishareen 
is a desert bred animal, small, and essentially a riding camel. 

The Kabbabish camel of the Bayuda Desert is larger and 
stronger thah the Bishareen. He was principally hired when 
our own transport broke down during the Nile Expedition. As 
he subsists on grazing entirely, time (which can ill be afiforded) 
is necessary to admit of a grazing system to be carried out. 

A big, soft camel with an exceptionally large hump is found 
in the Dongola District. He is almost impossible to fit with a 
Government saddle. 

The Arabian camel sent from Aden to the Nile Expedition 
was well adapted for riding and baggage purposes, and proved 
equally as good, if not better than any employed. 

The remarks of the Veterinary Inspector, Lines of Com- 
munication, of the Somaliland Field Force in 1904, are well 
worth quoting, as the country is essentially one for the 
employment of Camel Transport. He says : — 

"A more cosmopolitan array of camels, both riding and 
burden, has probably never been seen in any campaign." 


" Eiding camels were Bikanirs, Arabs, and a few Egyptian." 

" Burden camels were Indian, Baluchi, Arab, Somali and 

" All did good work if they were good specimens of their kind 
to start with, but the Bikanirs carried more and outlasted the 
other riding camels with great ease, so long as they got water 
and food fairly regularly." 

" Of the burden camels the Indian and Somali bore the heat 
and burden of the day, and outmarched and outlived the Ara bs 
and Abyssinians. Where it is possible to water and feed them, 
the Indian camel, will outlast the Somali also, but when the 
pinch comes, and they have to go on little food and no water 
for days and days, the Somali camel will pull through and save 
the situation, though it never will be any use afterwards." 

" Some camels did extraordinary marches without water, 
Somali as much as eighteen days, and Indians nine days, but 
they never recovered. A camel if once allowed to get below par 
recovers very, very slowly." 

" A great deal of nonsense was talked about the best way to 
prepare animals for trekking in Somaliland, some people 
insisting that it was fatal to give ponies and Somali camels any 
grain, as it only created an artificial appetite and thirst which 
could not be satisfied on the march, and therefore the animals 
would die, though those previously grass-fed only would do the 
work and live. This is quite a mistake. The ordinary rules 
for getting animals fit hold good in Somaliland, with the 
exception that it is undoubtedly sound, owing to the exigencies 
of the country, to teach animals to drink much and seldom 
rather than little and often." 

" That Somali camels do very well on a regular ration of 
grain, dry grass, and water was proved by the camels in the 
carts. Each camel got 6 lb of grain and 15 lb of grass daily, 
and water every third day. They did steady work and kept, 
and some even improved, in condition." 

I have specially quoted the above remarks as they not only 
show merit of animals, but an intelligent handling of them. 

I close this chapter with a strong wish that the few remarks 
I could crowd into a short article will induce officers and men 
to take a special interest in our Army camels, their selection, 


their suitability for Army Service, their care, reduction of 
inefficiency by enhghtened management, and last, but not least, 
the scientific elucidation of the peculiar diseases to which camel 
kind is heir, and which are imperfectly understood. 
And may good luck always attend him in peace and war. 


From very early times elephants have taken part in war. 
They were not only used to stampede Cavalry and to trample 
down Infantry, but they were fighting machines, protected by 
armour, vdth steel blades fastened to their tusks, and saddled 
v?ith towers or howdahs containing several men from which 
missiles of various kinds could be thrown. On occasion the 
elephants of rival forces would have a duel a la mort, the rest 
of the forces halting to contemplate the contest. 

Perhaps the first appearance of elephants in historical battle 
was at the Battle of Arbela in 331 B.C., when Darius 
Codomannus marshalled fifteen elephants in his fighting line 
against Alexander the Great. No mention is made of the part 
they played on that occasion, but from that time onward their 
importance was considerable. 

In 326 B.C. when Alexander the Great reached the Eiver 
Jhelum (Hydaspes) he was opposed by King Porus. In the. 
battle which ensued in the immediate neighbourhood of 
Chillianwala, King Porus, trusting to the terror inspired by his. 
elephants, disposed them to the number of 200 in the front 
line, a hundred paces apart, his infantry being behind and his. 
cavalry and chariots being on the flanks. Seeing the elephants 
Alexander decided not to make a frontal attack, but relying on 
his superiority in cavalry he made his main attack against the 
left flank of Porus, one Brigade working to the rear. The 
result of this was that the Indian Cavalry were driven to shelter 
behind the elephants. The Macedonian phalanx then advanced, 
and as elephants crashed through it the situation was for a 
while serious. The Indian troops were, however, gradually 
hemmed in, the elephants as the battle progressed became. 


unmanageable from their wounds and attacked friend and foe 
indiscriminately. At last they refused to charge any longer. 
The Indian troops were defeated with heavy losses, and King 
Porus, who fought most bravely from a huge elephant until the 
very end, sought refuge in flight — to be captured shortly after. 
I have alluded to this battle specially, as it is perhaps the most 
glorious encounter in which elephants participated. They were 
certainly not relished by Alexander's troops, for in the 
complaints by the latter of war weariness and that they had 
gone far enough, they stated that towards the East there were 
■ still more powerful monarchs than Porus whose war elephants 
and armies were stronger and more numerous than his. 

At the battle of Ipsus in Asia Minor in 301 B.C. Seleucus, 
a great soldier and one of Alexander's Generals, was said to 
have used his elephants (480 in number) with great effect 
against Demetrius, He obtained the elephants and large 
sums of money from Chandragupta of Indian fame in exchange 
for territory and the matrimonial alliance of his daughter. 

The elephants of Antiochus Soter, a successor of Seleucus, in 
280 B.C., caused a mad stampede amongst the Cavalry of the 
Gauls (said to have numbered 40,000) who had overrun 
Northern Asia Minor and settled in Phrygia. Antiochus 
celebrated the victory by a trophy bearing the figure of an 
elephant. In all probability they were Chandragupta's 
elephants. I mention this as of interest to India, elephants 
being long-lived animals. They are remounts at 40 and 50 
years, and perform useful work up to 80 and 100 years. 

Later on, at the Battle of Kaphia. in Palestine, in 217 B.C., 
there was an encounter between Indian elephants of Antiochus 
the Great and African elephants of Ptolemy of Egypt in which 
the Indian elephants prevailed, although the battle was lost to 

The Macedonians at the siege of Megalopolis attacked with 
elephants, but the defenders strewed the ground with long 
spikes concealed under loose earth, and the huge animals 
maddened with pain, broke back, killing their, own troops. 

In the First Punic War the Carthaginian Army used 

•elephants before Palermo. The Eomans struck terror into 

them by means of flaming arrows and fireworks. They were 


put to flight, trampled down their own infantry, and the 
Romans taking the offensive gained a victory. 

The Carthaginians were fond of elephants for War pm-poses. 

The great Hannibal took 200 to Spain, and afterwards 37 of 
them crossed the Alps with him into Italy (219 B.C.) They 
were ferried across the Eiver Ehone on rafts specially con- 
structed. What with exposure and attack from the Roman 
Legions in the Battle of Trebia, only one remained. Hannibal 
obtained 40 remounts, but only seven remained to take part in 
his final overthrow on Italian soil. 

At the Battle of Zama in Africa four years after, his elephants 
(80) were defeated by the Romans. Romans, as a rule, disliked 
encounter with elephants, but on this occasion a fine example of 
personal combat was set by the Roman Commander Scipio 
which ended in the destruction of nearly all the elephants. 

The Parthians being essentially an Army of light Cavalry 
had no use for elephants: while under the Sasanian Dynasty 
of Persia the Corps of Elephants was the most important of 
the main Arms of Service. 

In 1399 when Timur invaded India, he engaged the Army of 
Mahmud Nassir-ud-din at Ferozabad near Delhi. The Army 
of the latter included elephants armed to the teeth. Timur 
gained a victory by driving a herd of buffaloes with burning 
faggots attached to their horns amongst the elephants, causing 
them to stampede, with a resulting discomfiture and defeat of 
the Indian Troops. 

At the siege of Arcot in 1752 Chanda Sahib had war elephants 
vpith iron plates on their heads, which were trained to butt 
against the gates and break them down. W^hen fired on they 
turned tail, and created disaster amongst their own troops. 

The foregoing will show that elephants have little merit as 
fighting machines, and that they even constitute a danger to 
the side to which they belong. 

The last appearance of elephants in battle was in the Afghan 
War of 1878-80, and they finally disappeared as Field Transport 
after the Chin-Lushai Operations in 1890. In Afghanistan they 
were employed in Heavy Batteries, each gun being drawn by 
two elephants, the total number on the establishment of a 
Heavy Battery being six. They performed great service at the 


Battle of Peiwar Kotal (2nd December 1878) packing four 
Horse Artillery guns up the steep ascent of the Kotal during 
the night, leading to the surprise of the enemy. Their immense 
strength, their silent movements, and aptitude for climbing over 
rough ground were of especial value for this purpose. 

The drawback to elephants in Heavy Artillery is that they 
are very gun shy, and it was for this reason, and the difficulty 
of providing them with their enormous rations, that they lost 
their place as War animals. A big animal of this kind is also 
a fine mark for the enemy, and when one is knocked out or 
rendered ineffective it is relatively a serious loss of animal 
power to its unit. 

Elephants in heavy batteries continued for some fifteen years 
after the Afghan War, and I recall those of a Battery, and their 
stable (still in existence) at Jansi, of which I had charge nearly 
thirty years ago. I remember, too, the old joke against th6 
Veterinary Officer — that when his elephant patient required an 
enema, application had to be made for the local fire-engine. 

As transport in the Chin-Lushai Expedition, the 70 animals 
employed proved most valuable, and performed very excellent 

The only association the Army of India now has with the 
elephant is the scale of diet still permitted to be retained in 
Army Transport Tables. Sic transit gloria mundi. 


Economy to be Effected in the Disposal of 
Animals Wasted by War. 

•'And there was taken up of fragments that remained to them 
twelve baskets." (S^. Luke IX. 17.) 

" and they did all eat and were filled : and they too\ up of the 
broken meat that was left seven baskets full." {Sf. Matthew 
XV. 37.) 

Chapter . I.— GENEEAL. 

When a War costs from £5,000,000 to £6,000,000 per day, is 
continued for months and years, and income tax. is subjected to 
continual rise, our thoughts are naturally driven to measures of 

War in all its aspects must necessarily mean exteksive 
provision of material, and such provision must bear a consider- 
able margin over demand and ordinary expenditure, to admit of 
unusual or unforeseen wastage. 

On the other hand, a plethora of any thing may lead to 
wanton waste. 

In any case, whether expenditure in war material is ordinary 
or extraordinary, there are fragments which remain ' to be 
picked up and turned to credit account. In previous sections I 
have remarked on business propositions of the Army, and 
Economy, well directed, is certainly one of them. It is 
remarkable, and I think greatly to the credit of our Armies in 
the various theatres of the late Great War, what astounding 
results have been achieved by Salvage, under an organisation 


which was simple during the progress of the War, and which 
at the end was most efficient in the methods of clearing up. 
Salvage, both during the War and after the conclusion of 
hostilities, represented one of the biggest Firms of Commercial 
Exploitation that has ever existed, for all Services, units, and 
men belonged to it, and it was headed by a controller. "What 
have you salved to-day?" asked the tail board of the motor 
wagon, and so forcibly and expertly was Salvage and Economy 
brought home to one and all, that "Baskets," manifold in 
design and degree of capacity, were filled to overflowing. I am 
sure that the Firm has every rea?on to be proud of its 
turn-over, and of its gross and nett profits. 

One of the items of Salvage, and one of very considerable 
dimensions on demobilisation, related to the disposal of animals, 
and it is to that portion of disposal which is specially referable 
to the Wastage or unfitness of animals occasioned by the hard 
usages of war that I wish to devote the present section. 

I regret exceedingly, and I am sure it is a matter of pain to 
many of those who have the interests of anirnals at heart, that 
those creatures who in dumb obedience shared the dangers and 
hardships of campaign with human beings should suffer the 
indignity of classification under Salvage ; still it must be 
remembered that they are also creatures of mart — to be bought 
and sold, and they represent a considerable factor in a country's 
commercial enterprise. It may be taken, however, that their 
inclusion in Salvage only related to Beturns. Their actual 
disposal was a thing of itself, very carefully considered — and 
quite rightly so, and I am in a position to af&rm that humane 
thought and fellow-feeling reigned supreme in their disposal, 
even though the best economic considerations were necessary. 

In war, where ineffective animals are sent to Field Veterinary 
units foi* evacuation to Veterinary Hospitals and Convalescent 
Horse Depots, it will be readily understood that the bulk of 
animals which are of no further use for military purposes, or 
the success of whose treatment is only problematical or 
economically unsound, will be found in these Institutions. 
Veterinary Service, therefore, becomes the chief medium 
through which the account, or military career, of an animal is 
closed and disposal effected. 


It will also be realised that the longer the war the greater 
the wear and tear, and the greater the number of unserviceable 
animals for casting and disposal. 

All animals wasted by war must be accounted for, not only 
in respect to numbers, but as to money realised in their 
disposal, and although this to the uninitiated may sound an 
impossible or hopeless undertaking, with proper and efficient 
organisation it becomes a comparatively simple routine process. 
This, at all events, was so in the British Expeditionary Force, 
France ; and as disposal in that Force reached a magnitude 
which probably will never again be experienced, and as 
exceptional facilities existed, the procedure there followed may 
be taken as an example not only of the manner in which 
disposal is effected, but as to the profits, and the economy 
which can be made applicable to it. 

In describing the process I shall endeavour, as faithfully as 
I can, to depict the history of animals after their being con- 
sidered " unfit for further military service," which is the official 
phrase, and will group my remarks under the several headings, 


Disposal : (i) For work in civil pursuits, e.g.' Agriculture. 

(ii) For food, (iii) For By-products. 
Accounting and Amounts Bealisbd. 
Disposal on Demobilization. 

I only ask that readers will not mark down Veterinary Service 
and myself as butchers, instead of 'a community of experts 
whose mission it is to cure and not to kill. I can safely say 
that the act of destruction is distasteful to the Veterinary Officer, 
but some one of his Corps must do the deed, and the responsi- 
bility for the execution of it in a proper and humane manner 
devolves on the Veterinary Officer. 


Chaptee II— casting. 

Apart from animals which are incurably injured or diseased 
and which are destroyed as necessary under the orders of the 
Director of Veterinary Services or his representatives in For- 
mations, the first step in the disposal of animals wasted by 
War is that they are cast by competent authority as unfit for 
further military service. No casting, or at least final casting,, 
was done at the front ; the princicple being that only effective 
animals were maintained with fighting formations, the ineffec- 
tives being evacuated to Lines of Communication. It was,, 
however, left to the Administrative Officers of Formations to 
recommend the casting of certain animals — from their more 
intimate knowledge of them, and this was indicated on the 
Evacuation Eolls for action. 

The Casting Authority was, therefore, the Inspector-General 
of Communications, or the General Officer Commanding Lines 
of Communications, as he was subsequently termed. Acting 
under this Authority, the decision of casting was carried out by 
the Director of Eemounts for what are designated Eemount cases 
i.e. animals too old for further service or those subject to vice 
and by the Director of Veterinary Services or his Deputies on 
Lines of Communications for those suffering from infirmity or 
disease. All animals submitted for casting were duly entered 
on Casting rolls, which were signed by the Director or his- 
Deputy concerned. Furthermore, they were shown on the 
Forage and Animal Monthly Eeturn of the Hospital or Depot, 
and struck off charge when disposed of, so that check was 
accurate. It was not practicable during active warfare for 
units of fighting formations, i.e. above railhead, to maintain a 
Forage and Animal Account. The check on casualties — deaths, 
destructions, missing, and evacuations, is quite enough to 
impose on fighting units, and casting and disposal are much 
better carried out farther back, where better facihties and a 
better market can be arranged. 


It will be readily imagined that the wastage of War chiefly 
relates to veterinary disability, and only those, who have seen it 
in concrete form, can have any conception of what it means. I 
endeavoured to illustrate it in my previous paper on " Wastage 
of Animals in War." Arrangements therefore, for disposal in 
its varied forms were taken up by Veterinary Service, quite ■ 
Automatically as it were, and as the Force increased, and War 
became more intense and prolonged, a Disposal of Animals 
Branch of the Veterinary Directorate was instituted to meet 
the necessity for the co-ordination of the various channels of 
disposal, the framing of contracts for the sale of animals for 
purposes of food, the instaiUation of machinery for the abstraction 
of by-products, and for the due accounting of the same. The 
misfits, the vice cases, and the ancients from Eemount Service 
were transferred to this organization for disposal. The latter 
were comparatively few, for a Eemount Service in War has no 
place for anything but ef&cient animals. Veterinary Service 
in France was fortunate in securing the services of a young 
officer for charge of the Disposal Section who not only was an 
expert in the necessary machinery for By-products, but a 
Chartered Accountant as well. 


Chaptee III. 

There was very little disposal at first in Prance except of 
animals died and destroyed. It was not until the beginning of 
November 1914 that definite casting rules were published in 
Eoutine Orders. The Indian Mounted Troops on proceeding 
up-country left some very inferior animals at Marseilles. Many 
were unsuitable from a Eemount point of view, and infirm. 
They were cast and sold ; the worst were destroyed. I do not 
think it could have happened under a system other than 
Silladar. But in the early days of rapid mobilisation our Home 
Force was not altogether free from its Methuselahs and infants. 
I rather fancy that in some instances father had dropped out of 
the ranks and his place taken by a member of his family of 
questionably discreet years, or vice versa. It is wonderful how 
such things arrange themselves when the desire for combat or 
otherwise (particularly the otherwise) is concerned, and even 
more wonderful is the adroitness with which these warriors 
find out Veterinary Hospitals and the reputed comfort thereof. 

On the publication of Casting Eules, sales were held at the 
Base, Advanced Base, and at Paris. After a while these were 
stopped by order of the Army Council in deference to public 
opinion at Home, and instructions were issued that all cast 
animals were to be destroyed. From an economic point of 
view this made little difference, as it was possible to obtain 
almost as good an average price for purposes of food as for 
work. But the destruction of really useful life has very little 
to commend it, indeed it is sheer waste ; and moreover, in spite 
of all argument which can be brought forward to the contrary, 
sentimental or otherwise, an animal, useful still in certain 
spheres, has just as much right to live as the man or woman 
who advocates or clamours for his destruction to remove him 
from any danger of cruelty. 

The French Ministry of Agriculture was much perturbed at 
the order for destruction of horses, as they depended on us to 


help them out in their replacements in districts of horses 
requisitioned for military purposes. Subsequent events showed 
how necessary this was, and how correct the view of the French 
Ministers of War and Agriculture. So great was the drain on 
their own resources in France that by November 1917 not 
only had 1,188,539 animals been bought in America and Spain 
to supply wastage (Journal of Eoyal United Service Institution, 
May 1919), but for rehabilitation at the end of hostilities they 
took as many animals as we could dispose of, and could have 
taken many more. 

However, on the representation of the French Government 
the order for destruction was rescinded in favour of sale of 
suitable animals to agriculturists and breeders at the rate of not 
more than two animals per person, the bmia fides of each person 
being certified by Mayors of Communes. This continued until 
the cessation of hostilities when, of course, very serviceable and 
good animals were put on the market under the measures of 

The average price of cast horses and mules taken together 
sold to Farmers and Breeders during hostilities worked out at 
about £22 per head. A statement of the turn-over will be given 
later on in the section. 

Chapter IV. 


Excepting for dogs and cats, the flesh of horses in England 
was not used as food previous to the War. On the Continent 
it is different. In France, Belgium, and Germany it is quite 
commonly eaten, both in the form of sausages and as prime 
cuts. The law demands that it should be sold as horse flesh, 
and the shops are all distinctively designated, e.g., Boucherie 
Chevaline. In Paris there is a special and well ordered 
Abattoir Hippophagique, with cubicles for' slaughter and 
dressing of the carcases and stabling for about three hundred 
animals. This abattoir was our principal centre for the 


disposal of animals for purposes of food. The President of the 
Institution was our chief contractor and he was also the 
President of the Chevaline Industrie de Paris. Animals were 
sent by truck-loads from the various Veterinary Hospitals and 
Convalescent Horse Depots, accompanied by personnel of the 
E.A.V.C. They were met at the different Railway Stations of 
Paris by the Contractor's men and taken to the Abattoir under 
the supervision of a Non-Commissioned Officer of the B.A.V.C. 
They were weighed at the Abattoir, and were sold live weight 
at 1 Franc per kilo, for thin animals (Class B) and Fr. 1'50 per 
kilo, for those in good condition (Class A). Thin animals were 
used for sausages, the stouter ones for joints. Transactions 
were all cash, and the money was paid into the local Treasury 
Office. Eegular Contracts were drawn out, and deposits were 
lodged by the Contractors in the Office of the Command Pay- 
master. So extensive did the transactions become as the War 
progressed — the number of animals running up to 600 and over 
per week, that for the personal safety of the young officer 
detailed to collect the money, payment was permitted to be 
made by cheque. A small Detachment of Eoyal Army Veter- 
inary Corps, consisting of an Officer, a Sergeant, and a Corporal 
as accountant clerk, was maintained in Paris to watch our 
interests and those of the animals. The adaptability of the 
British Officer to business pursuits was well illustrated in the 
young officer, who was an Oxford Graduate and a Professor of 
French in a Colonial University previous to the War. What 
he did not know about this particular line of business, both 
wholesale and retail, after several years experience, was not 
worth knowing. 

The average weight of a Class A (good condition) animal was 
about 450 kilos, so that the proceeds would be 450 x Fr. 1-50 = 
Fr. 675. The Class B animal (Debility and poor condition) 
weighed about 300 or 350 kilos, so that at Fr. 1 per kilo, the 
sum of Fr. 300 to Fr. 350 would be realized. Contractors were 
wholesale dealers and supplied retail shops. All carcases were 
passed by Municipal Meat Inspectors, and in the selection or 
submission of animals for purposes of food, Officers of the 
E.A.V.C. concerned were strictly charged that no animals were 
to be submitted but what were perfectly suitable, and in this 



respect they acted in the role of Meat Inspectors themselves. 
Any animals that did not come up to the desired standard were 
disposed of for by-products. 

Perhaps it will be interesting to readers, and illustrative of 
the greater use which is made of horse flesh on the Continent 
than in the British Isles, if I enumerate the trade terms and 
prices which ruled in Paris in the Spring of 1918. Briefly 
these were as follows : — 



Filet (4 to 5 kilos, only) per 

kilo. Fr. 3-50 



Tranches (principal cuts, 

about 90 kilos.) , 



Gros Bout (brisket) , 



Jambes , 



Nerveux (low legs) , 



Abats (Tongue, Heart, Liver) , 



Cervelle (Brain) , 



Collier (20 kilos.) 



Basse Viande (Scrap) 50 kilos. , 



Saucisson (ordinaire, fresh) , 






Eognures (Cats' meat) , 



28,384 animals were sent to the Paris Abattoir for purposes 
of food during the War up to the Armistice, and the average 
price realised was £12 16 : alter the Armistice up to the 
31st March 1919, 8664 were sent, and as they were a better 
class, on demobilisation, the average price was i£18 10 0. 

In addition to the Paris custom; a large number were 
disposed of to local vendors at towns in which Veterinary 
Hospitals were situated — Havre, Eouen, Forges-les-Eaux, 
Abbeville, Boulogne, Calais, and Sf. Omer, 16,578 were thus 
sold previous to the Armistice at an average price of close on 
.£14, while after the Armistice, up to the 31st March 1919, 
20,679 were similarly disposed of at an average price of a little 
over £20. The latter included animals classed for destruction 
on demobilisation, and disposed of in areas occupied by our 
Armies, a great boon to the population and refugees returning 
to those areas. It also included the cast horses of the Army of 


the Ehine, as animals were not permitted to be sold in that 
region excepting for food. 

In everjr case the same procedure of destruction in the 
presence of a Veterinary Officer, the guarantee of suitability 
for food, and the accounting was followed. 

The Disposal of Animals' Branch also maintained Butchery 
Detachments at the Abattoirs of Abbeville and Boulogne, and 
dressed carcases for Paris or local consumption and for delivery 
to the Army Service Corps for Coloured Labour Companies and 
Prisoners of War. These two small detachments previous to 
the Armistice dressed 4636 carcases, and 3903 afterwards, 
roughly at a turn-over of £20 per carcase. For a very long 
time, even though it represented a reduction of the import of 
foodstuffs, our Home Government would not consent to the 
issue of horse-beef as a ration to Prisoners of War, but to the 
evident appreciation of the prisoners, who were quite well 
aware of its good sound clean quality, issue was eventually 
permitted, and about 240 animals per week were dressed by our 
Butchery Detachments for this purpose. Our own men were 
also partial to certain delicacies, and several formal requests for 
liver, heart, tongue, etc., having been received, General 
Headquarters ruled that such might be issued as a free extra if 
demanded. Imagine liver and bacon, stuffed heart, boiled or 
pickled tongue, and brain fritters for breakfast ! 

The total amount realised in France, Belgium, and the 
Khine Provinces in the disposal of animals for food up to the 
end of March 1919 reached the colossal sum of £1,313,323. 


Chaptee V. 

In the first few months of the War a certain amount of 
difficulty was experienced in the disposal of dead animals. 
Horse slaughterers, owing to mobilisation or requisition of their 
horses, were difficult to procure, and either a charge for 
removal was demanded or no payment for the carcase could be 
obtained. Later on, fifteen francs per carcase was obtainable, 
the Contractor creating a dump and a powerful smell at the 
same time. At a still later period, when casualties were very 
heavy, the veterinary personnel of Hospitals and in Army areas, 
whenever possible, undertook the flaying of carcases, the hides 
being salted and the remains buried in pits. There are now 
some very valuable animal pits in Prance the contents of 
which will represent considerable wealth to the owner in 
manure specially suitable for vineyards. 

At last, however, perfection was reached in the matter of 
disposal both from a hygienic and economic point of view. 
Machinery was obtained for the rendering down of carcases, 
and the average yield per carcase so treated amounted to 
about ^4 0:— 

Hide £10 

Plesh (dried) 19 3 

Pat 15 

Bones and hoofs 5 

Hair 9 


Seven installations were arranged on Lines of Communi- 
cations, each with a personnel of fourteen men and capable of 
dealing with thirty carcases daily if necessary or as the 
situation demanded. These installations were termed " Horse 
Carcase Economisers" and were numbered serially as self- 
contained imits. Pour functioned at high pressure, and in 
view of final disposal on demobilisation it was thought that 


certain of them would have to be duplicated, but the demand 
for animals for repatriation and for purposes of food reduced 
the necessity for further " Economiser" arrangements. 
The necessary plant consisted of : — 
Skinning platforms (concrete). 

Boiling Tanks (2) galvanised iron, 500-1000 gallons, 

for bones, eiitrails, etc. 
Boiler for Steam. 

Small petrol engine for driving machinery. 
" I.W.E.L." dryer, steam pressure, for desiccating flesh. 
Turbine Fat Extractor (750 revolutions per minute) . 
Eevolving meat cutter. 
Bone crusher. 

Skin Curing room (cemented floors). 
Store room for desiccated flesh, oil drums, etc. 

Extras, i.e., Decauville line and trucks to manure dump. 
The total cost of an installation was from £1000 to £1200, 
but the special machinery — the Dryers, Turbine Fat Extractors; 
Meat Cutters, and Bone Crushers, were presented byi^the Eoyal 
Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals at a cost of 
£500 each set. 

There was no difliculty in getting expert skinners, and 
Prisoners of War assisted. 

Arrangements were made to screen off the skinning platforms 
as much as possible from the chamber in which animals were 
destroyed, or where working teams of horses visited. 

Hides, after being cured, were bundled and sent to England. 
Between September 1916 and March 1919, 36,877 hides were 

Carcases would yield from 3 to 5 gallons of oil. It realized 
13 francs per gallon in Paris for soap manufacture. 

An average carcase would yield one hundred- weight of desic- 
cated flesh, and it was sold in London for £31 per ton for pig 
and poultry food, or for dog biscuits. It keeps perfectly good 
and fresh for a long time, and there is no unpleasant smell. 

Bones, after boiling, were crushed and de-greased in the 
Turbine Extractor and shipped to London, realizing there from 
£7 to £15 per ton. 


Hoofs were sold to a Paris Contractor at Fr. 32 per 100 kilos. 

Hair was taken over by the Eailway Operating Division, for 
piston packing. 

Blood was desiccated, and at the Abattoir at Boulogne a 
certain amount was taken over by the Eoyal Air Force for the 
manufacture of " Stickit " for Aeroplane wings. 

By special arrangement, the Inspector Q.M.G. Services 
(Messing and Economies) used the Turbine Fat Extractors for 
the Extraction of Beef and Mutton fat from the swill of units, 
wherever an Economiser was installed. His profits from Fats 
must have been enormous ; the dried product of the swill was. 
mixed with the desiccated flesh. 

13,670 carcases were handled by the Horse Carcase Econo- 
misers up to 31st March 1919, and the gross takings amounted 
to £55050. Profits would have been greater if Economisers- 
could have been installed earlier, but it will be realized that the 
very essential munitions of War take a much more prominent 
place in the priority of import. However, when duly installed 
they produced excellent results, and they were certainly very 
hygienic, and quite free from the putrid or unpleasant smell 
which may attend a wet process of disposal. 

It was not practicable to adopt Horse Carcase Economisers. 
in Army Areas to deal with animals died and killed. The 
utmost that could be done was to flay the died and destroyed 
and send the hides to Line of Communication for curing. The 
hides of wounded animals were of little value, hardly repaying 
the trouble or cost of flaying. 

No serious Contagious Disease cases were included even in 
this method of disposal. 


Chaptbb VI. 

All animals cast and sold to Agriculturists, or cast and disposed 
-of for purposes of Food, were struck off charge on voucher, the 
casting roll in triplicate being used and accompanying the 
animals for this purpose. The proceeds of sale having been 
filled in against each animal and an endorsement of receipt of 
the money entered by the Field Cashier, the rolls were returned 
to the unit concerned, whether Eemount or Veterinary unit. 
One voucher was used to support the monthly Forage and 
Animal Account which was submitted to the Financial Adviser 
for scrutiny and check, the second copy was retained by the 
unit for record, and the third was sent to the Director of Veter- 
inary Services at General Headquarters, to enable him to make 
out his financial statement for inclusion in the Controller of 
Salvage General Eeturn, and for audit. 

Those animals died and destroyed as unfit for food and sent 
to Horse Carcase Econpmisers were struck off on ordinary 
voucher bearing receipt from the Officer in charge of the latter, 
a copy of such voucher again supporting the Monthly Forage 
and Animal Account submitted to the Financial Adviser. 

The adjustment of the accounts for the sale of various articles 
of By-products was carried out in the Disposal of Animals 
Branch of Veterinary Directorate, in consultation with the 
Controller of Salvage. The Government at Home having 
control of all hides, notification of receipt and a somewhat 
complicated trade classification only was received, and an 
arbitrary value was fixed by us for purposes of account. Other 
articles were cash transactions under contract, excepting hair, 
which was a paper adjustment with the Eailway Operating 
Department based on the market value. 


Table A. 


Sold by auction to 

Farmers and Breeders 
Sold to Paris Horse Butchers 
Sold to Local Horse Butchers 
Dealt with by Butchery Detach- 
ments and sold as dressed carcases 
Dealt with by Butchery Detach- 
ments and issued to Labour Com- 
panies or Prisoners of War 
Dealt with in Horse Carcase Bcono- 
miser Plants for conversion into 

Number of 





am't realised. 



Total 64,334 £ 858,377 

Table B. 


Sold by auction to 

Farmers and Breeders 
Sold to Paris Horse Butchers 
Sold to Local Horse Butchers 
Dealt with by Butchery Detach- 
ments and sold as dressed carcases. 
Dealt with by Butchery Detach- 
ments and issued to Labour Com- 
panies or Prisoners of War 
Dealt with in Horse Carcase Bcono- 
miser Plants for conversion into 

Number of 




am't realised 





Total 152,077 £4,457,761 


The foregoing tables show the working of the Disposal of 
Animals Branch in two periods, Table A from its inception up 
to the cessation of hostilities, November 11th, 1919 ; and Table 
B during the period of Armistice and on demobilisation up to 
the 31st March, 1919. During the period covered by Table A 
the establishment of the Headquarters of the Disposal of 
Animals Branch consisted of one Officer, one Sergeant, and one 
Worker, W.A.A.C. During the second period, covered by Table 
B, when the work of check and accounting of animals sold in 
Army Areas on demobilisation was very heavy, the establish- 
ment was increased to two Of&cers and six other ranks, of 
which two were W.A.A.C. It cannot be said to be a very 
extravagant establishment in view of the amount of money 

Chapter VII. 

I will close this section with a brief reference to the system 
pursued in the disposal of animals on demobilisation, and with 
a few statements, marked Appendices I, II and III, which will 
show the rate at which this was effected, and the proceeds of 
those disposed of in France and Belgium. The figures do not 
include the animals of the Canadian Corps who undertook the 
sale of their own, nor of the Portuguese Force who took the 
majority of their animals back to Portugal. No live animals, 
were sold in G-ermany. 

The principle followed was that all animals, whether with 
Formations, in Veterinary Hospitals and Convalescent Horse 
Depots, or in Eemount Depots, were first examined by Boards 
of Veterinary Officers and classified by them into the following 
categories according to age, soundness or disability : — 

A. Between 5 and 8 years and practically sound. 

B. Between 8 and 12 years and practically sound. 

C. Over 12 years or unsound. 

D. Only fit for destruction for Food and By-products. 


A, B, C, were re-classified by Remount Service into : — 
X. For Post Bellum Army and Army of the Ehine — 
Y, For repatriation to England for sale. [the Best. 

Z. For sale on the Continent, including mules. 

From a given date, fixed at 1st January, 1919, stock was 
taken of all animals on the strength of units. Forage and 
Animal Accounts were adopted by units in Army areas as well 
as those on Lines of Communication, so that check on disposal 
could be maintained. In transfers for purposes of sale or 
repatriation the peace Army Form 0. 1640, a very useful Form, 
and modified to suit the occasion, was used. 

Category " D " (Destruction), animals were got rid of as soon 
as possible, and "Veterinary Hospitals and Convalescent Horse 
Depots cleared with all speed, to hold animals demobilised. 

By the first week in February it happened that men were 
being demobilised at a greater proportionate rate than animals, 
and a sale in bulk of 50,000 to Belgium having proved a failure 
through slowness of take over, it was decided that Armies 
should arrange sales in their respective areas, using the Mobile 
Veterinary Sections of Divisions and Veterinary Evacuating 
Stations of Corps as Disposal and Accounting units, the 
Eemount Service supplying the animals from their " Z " 
Category by local arrangements. The usual sales by Veterinary 
Service on Lines of Communication were extended considerably 
and again fed with " Z " Category animals from Eemount 
Service, who at the same time progressed with the repatriation 
of their " Y " Category horses to England up to approximately 
62,000. So rapid was the disposal by sale that it was necessary 
to cry a halt at the beginning of April lest it was over-done. 
The machinery of disposal had got into such good working 
order, and demand for horses had become so great, that there 
would have been no difficulty in disposing of many more 
thousands at fairly good prices. "Heavy draughts" were keenly 
sought after, and prices from £100 up to nearly ;£200 were 
given in some instances. Sales by private treaty, and selection 
by Municipalities and Farmers' Associations were also arranged 
through Prefects, and these were appreciated as intending 


purchasers — could have a good look at the animals beforehand 
and make their selections. The prices were arranged by a 
Committee of Officers. Every animal and its price was 
entered on the usual Casting EoU, and submitted through the 
Disposal of Animals Branch for audit. In a few weeks the 
whole of the accounts were passed by the Financial Adviser 
and the War Office, a most satisfactory ending to a no light 

The simple statements shown as appendices will be found 
interesting reading. 

Appendix I. 

British Expeditionary Force, France. 


Disposal of Animals 

during February 

■ to July 

, 1919. 

Died and 



















































13 • 























































































































— 4384 



































— 4639 

Total Disposal 


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Extracts from Official Despatches. 


By General Sir Douglas Haig, g.c.b., k.c.i.e., k.o.v.o., 
Commander-in-Chief, British Forces in France, dated 19th 
May, 1916. 

"19. The large increases made to our Forces have necessi- 
tated a great expansion in the resources of our Lines of Com- 
munication, and I have been greatly struck by the forethought 
shown by the Administrative Services in anticipating the 
requirements of the Armies in the Field and in the provision 
made to satisfy these requirements." 

"Economy has attended the good methods employed, and 
the greatest credit is due to all concerned for the results 

By General Sir Douglas Haig, g.c.b., g.c.v.o., k.c.i.e., 
Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, dated 23rd 
December, 1916. 

" The Army Commanders have brought to my notice the 
excellent' work done by their Staff Officers and Technical 
Advisers, as well as by the various Commanders and their 
Staffs serving under them, and I have already submitted the 
names of the various officers and others recommended by 


" I desire also to record my obligation to my own Staff at 
General Headquarters and on Lines of Communication, and to 
the various Technical Advisers attached thereto, for. their 
loyal and untiring assistance." 

By Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, g.c.b., g.c.v.o., k.c.i.b., 
Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, dated 31st 
May 1917. 

"I desire also to repeat the well-merited tribute paid in my 
last Despatch to the different Administrative Services and 
Departments. The work entailed by the double task of 
meeting the requirements of our winter operations and 
preparing for our next offensive was very heavy, demanding 
unremitting labour and the closest attention to detail." 

By Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, k.t., g.c.b., g.c.v.o., 
K.C.I.E., Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, 
dated 25th December, 1917. 


" The work of the Army Veterinary Corps and of the Mobile 
Veterinary Sections has been ably carried out, and has con- 
tributed largely to the general .efficiency of the Army." 

"In the heavy and responsible work which they have so 
admirably performed, the Army Conjmanders have been most 
loyally supported and assisted by their Staff Officers and 
Technical Advisers, as well as by the Commanders and Staffs 
of the units serving under them .... as well as the other 
Officers of my Staff, and Technical Advisers at General 
Headquarters and on Lines of Communication, have given me 
the greatest and most valuable assistance. I am glad once 
more to place on record the debt that I owe to them." 


By Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, k.t., g.c.b., g.c.v.o., 
K.C.I.B., Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, 
dated 20th July, 1918. 

{The Great German Offensive). 
" The enormous amount of additional work thrown upon 
the different branches of my Staff and upon the Administrative 
Services and Departments by such fighting as that of March 
and April can readily be imagined. The evacuation of great 
masses of stores, hospitals .... called for the highest powers 
of organisation, the most constant forethought- and supervision, 
and the most devoted labour. That all this work was carried 
out so smoothly and successfully under circumstances of 
extraordinary difficulty .... reflects the highest credit on 
all concerned." 

" I wish to thank the heads of the various Branches of the 
Staff and of Departments and Services for the essential share 
that they and their subordinates have taken in preventing the 
realisation of the enemy's plans." 


By Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, k.t., g.c.b., g.c.v.o., 
K.C.I.E., Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, 
dated 21st December, 1918. 

(The Advance to Victory). 

" To all other Administrative Services and Departments, I 
desire to express the thanks of the fighting forces for the loyal 
and efficient manner in which they have carried out their 
essential tasks. During a period of great strain and incessant 
work they have contributed in their various spheres to the 
smooth working of the Army machine and are entitled to the 
full share in the victory of our Arms." 

By Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig, k.t., g.c.b., g.c.v.o., 
K.C.I.E., Commander-in-Chief, British Armies in France, 
dated 21st March, 1919. 

(Final Despatch.) 
" The Veterinary Directorate reduced losses and prevented 
the spread of disease." 



By Lieut.-General Sir Stanley Maude, k.c.b., c.m.g., d.s.o., 
Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 
dated 10th April, 1917. 

" Sickness and battle casualties have placed a strain upon 
the resources of the Veterinary Department which has been 
met by wise anticipation and considerable efficiency." 

By Lieut.-General Sir Stanley Maude, k.c.B., c.m.g., d,s.o., 
late Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary 
Force, dated 15th October, 1917. 

" Similarly the valuable services rendered to this Army by 
the Directors and the Administrative Services and Departments 
were previously dealt with by me in detail. In their case 
there has been no partial respite from their labours such as has 
been enjoyed by fighting troops, for their work at the front, on 
the Lines of Communication, and at the Base has continued at 
the highest pressure. Reorganisation, development of our 
resources, and preparation for the future have needed careful 
thought and unrelaxed efforts on the part of all, and the 
progress made in these directions has been very gratifying. 
More than a passing word of recognition is therefore due to 
these individuals, who, in spite of the intense heat during the 
summer months, have continued to work so assiduously in the 
interests of the Army," 


By Lieut.-General Sir W. B. Marshall, k.c.b., k.c.s.i. 
Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 
dated 15th April, 1918. 

" Owing to the increased area over which this Force operates,, 
to the amount of animal diseases existing in the territories 
conquered, and to the constant danger of the animals of the 
Force being infected, it has been found necessary to increase 
the Veterinary Administrative Staff, and to form extra 
Veterinary Hospitals. The results are most gratifying, and 
reflect great credit on this Department." 

By Lieut.-General Sir W. E. Marshall, k.c.b., k.c.s.i., 
Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 
dated 1st October, 1918. 

" I have been throughout most ably and loyally served by my 
subordinate Commanders, Staff and Technical Advisers, and 
take this opportunity of recording my most sincere thanks for 
all their good work." 



By Lieut.-General G. F. Milne, c.b., d.s.o., Commander-in- 
Chief, British Salonika Force, dated 1st October, 1917. 

"It is satisfactory to record that the wastage amongst the 
animals of the Force, in spite of the heavy strain during the 
winter, has been exceptionally low. The supply of all material 
to the troops necessitates the use of both wheeled and pack 
transport, while the tracks branching outward from the main 
routes, although in dry weather providing a good running 
surface, are, in the majority of cases, deep in mud after 
prolonged snow or rain. The calls on horse flesh have hence 
been severe, and it speaks well for the Army Veterinary 
Services that the mortality and loss through wastage has been 
kept to such a low figure." 

By General Sir George F. Milne, k.c.b., d.s.o., Commander- 
in-Chief, British Salonika Force, dated 1st December, 1918 

" No very great strain has been placed on either the Eoyal 
Army Veterinary Corps, or the Eemount Department, which 
have both proved equal to all demands made on them. The 
present uniformly good condition of the animals in the Force 
is largely due to the efforts of these two Services to improve 
and simplify animal management." 



By General Sir Aechibald Murray, g.c.m.g., k.c.b., late 
General Officer Commanding, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, 
dated 28th June, 1917. 

" The same local conditions above referred to have rendered 
the Force more than usually dependent on animal transport, 
while operations have involved the use of important mounted 
forces. The Bemount and Veterinary Services have conse- 
quently held a vital place in the organisation, and they have 
carried out their respective tasks to my complete satisfaction." 

By General Sir E. E.H. Allenby, g.c.m.g., k.c.b., Commander- 
in-Chief, Egyptian Expeditionary Force. Third Despatch, 
dated 18th September, 1918. 

" The fighting troops have been loyally assisted by the 
Administrative Services and Departments who have carried a 
heavy burden on their shoulders, both in front and behind 



By His Excellency General Sir Charles Carmichael Monbo, 
G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., Commander-in-Chief in India. On 
Operations during the Third Afghan War from May to 
August, 1919, dated 1st November, 1919. 

" 13. The requirements of Veterinary Service necessitated 
i;he formation of three Camel Veterinary Hospitals for 500 
camels each, a Camel Convalescent Depot, and a Horse 
-Convalescent Depot for 1000 animals each as well as additional 
Eield and Mobile Veterinary Sections and Base Depots of 
Veterinary Stores. The creation of these units imposed a 
severe tax on available sources of recruitment and some 
difficulty was experienced in obtaining personnel of the right 
stamp. But on the whole the existing organisation stood the 
test well. The mortality among animals was never excessive, 
amounting to a weekly average of "2 per cent, in the case of 
horses and ponies, "04 per cent, in the case of mules, 3 per 
cent, in the case of bullocks, and '3 per cent, in the case of 
camels, as compared with '2, '06, 1"6 and '1 per cent, respectively 
■during the period May to September 1918, in Mesopotamia. 
The evacuation of sick animals was on the whole well carried 
out, but there was a tendency to maintain too many ineffective 
animals with units ; this fault was corrected in course of time. 
Considerable inefficiency was caused by the incidence of foot- 
and-mouth disease and rinderpest in bullocks. 

"88. As already stated I have had every reason to be 
;satisfied with the work of the Veterinary, Eemounts, Ordnance, 
■Supply and Transport Services." 


Waziristan Operations, 1919-20. 

By His Excellency General Sir Chaeles Carmichael Monro, 
G.C.B., G.C.S.I., G.C.M.G., Commander-in-Chief in India, dated 
1st August, 1920. 

" The work of the Veterinary Service was ably carried out. 
By foresight and close attention to detail, Directors and Officers 
of the Corps eliminated all possibility of a breakdown of the 
Transport Service from disease. Many of the Animal 
Transport Corps were without experienced Officers, and the 
Veterinary Service made up the deficiency by advice and 
constant inspection."